State-owned PNOC Exploration Corp. is studying overseas opportunities in oil and liquefied natural gas, specifically Nigeria and Iran, to boost the company’s long-term profitability.
PNOC Exploration president Pedro Aquino said in an anniversary statement that despite the low oil price regime, the company would focus efforts on oil and gas exploration and development not only in the Philippines but also in other countries.
“We started the drilling of Baragatan in service contract 63 last 2014 and we followed this up with the drilling of Mangosteen well in SC 37 last 2015 where we discovered gas. We will continue to develop SC 37,” Aquino said.
He said the company received offers to develope oil wells and produce in Nigeria and Iran, which could provide a strategic investment opportunity.
“We are studying these offers very closely. Because of the low percentage of oil and gas discovery in the Philippines, we are inclined to consider these offers,” he said.
Aquino said PNOC Exploration “will not be put in peril whatever scarce resources we have.”
“We are trying to do all of these through a free carry equity scheme wherein EC will be free-carried in the expense for the development and production of the oil wells,” he said.
The company is also strengthening its international oil trading in petroleum products all geared at increasing revenues without much dependence from the Malampaya gas project revenues.
PNOC Exploration owns a 10-percent stake in the Malampaya gas production field in northwest Palawan.
Aquino said PNOC Exploration was also looking at opportunities in LNG here and abroad.
“Currently, we are in talks with potential partners for the construction of offshore and onshore LNG liquefaction plants in Iran as well as the construction of a LNG receiving terminal, regasification plant and power plant in Leyte and Cebu,” he said.
“In addition, we will be trading LNG both here and abroad coming from the LNG liquefaction plants in Iran.”
He said PNOC Exploration’s new projects were capital-intensive “but we are determined because we will have partners that can provide us both the financial and technical muscles to make these projects become realities.”
PNOC Exploration is allocating a budget of P8.4 billion this year for investments in the Malampaya gas project and other petroleum exploration projects and coal exploration. The amount is slightly higher than the approved budget of P8.039 billion in 2015.
PNOC Exploration plans to spend P6.129 billion on petroleum exploration projects and P1.365 billion for the Malampaya gas project.
The earmarked P184.56 million on coal exploration and P148.28 million on other project developments.
It allocated P81.26 million on capital expenditures and P491.44 million on operating expenses.
The company reported an unaudited net profit of P1.426 billion in 2015, down 41 percent from P2.43 billion in 2014.
PNOC Exploration’s revenues declined to P4.717 billion last year from P6.6 billion in 2014 amid falling world oil prices.