The government said it received seven offers to explore and develop new oil and gas fields under the Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program despite the tension in the West Philippine Sea.
The Energy Department said it received four out of the 14 pre-determined areas open to investors and three other nominations under the latest contracting round.
PCECP, a transparent petroleum service contract awarding mechanism, allows the government to develop and utilize indigenous petroleum resources under a service contract with qualified local and international exploration companies.
The awarding of service contracts are conducted either through the competitive selection process or via nomination.
“Considering the context of the Philippines…We are currently competing with markets in Africa, competing for investments from the US. The tendency really is, shall we say, invest in areas that are really stable where the risk is less. We have to recognize the fact that the Philippines is a frontier market as far as the development of energy is concerned,” Energy assistant secretary Leonido Pulido III said.
“We do have territorial disputes. In the discussions we had with different agencies around the world, we do recognize the Philippines is not marketable. There is a difficulty, challenge there. We are working on them. Considering this context, we’re happy to get a third of the PDA but we do have nominated areas,” Pulido said.
Pulido said some investors also raised concern over the ongoing tax dispute in the Malampaya gas project.
He said while the department accepted the applications, it would still serve notice regarding the completeness of the submissions. A 15-day evaluation will follow.
Israeli firm Ratio Petroleum Ltd. made an offer for one of the pre-determined areas including Area 3 (East Palawan Basin). Ratio Petroleum is also the operator of Service Contract 76 also located in the East Palawan Basin.
Sulu Sea Energy Resources Development Corp., a Filipino firm whose proponents are residents and community leaders in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, offered to explore for oil and gas in Area 6 (Sulu Sea).
Philodrill Corp. and PXP Energy Corp. jointly submitted an offer to explore Area 7 (Sulu Sea). Both firms are active oil and gas players in the country.
Mindanao-based Esmaulana Global Ventures Co. Inc. submitted an application for Area 6 (Sulu Sea) and Area 10 (Cotabato Basin).
The department also received three offers under the nomination process. The offers are from Sulu Sea Energy for Area 1 in the Sulu Sea, Troika Giant Power Corp. for Area 2 in northwest Palawan and Superior (SG) Shipyards Inc. for Area 3 in Southeast Luzon.
The department is pushing to reinvigorate the petroleum exploration and development activities in the country to serve as a cushioning measure against the volatility of oil prices.
The department said it was committed to ‘Explore, Explore, Explore’ in its pursuit of energy independence, security, and sustainability through the effective and reasonable development of all indigenous energy resources in the Philippines.
“We need to increase exploration and development activities in the Philippines so that we can become energy self-sufficient. The DoE is continuously pushing for the success of the PCECP for the effective, responsible and reasonable development of all our indigenous energy resources,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said earlier.