THE Department of Energy (DoE) has warned three entities which nominated areas to explore for possible petroleum or gas deposits that it will disqualify any of them should they fail to meet eligibility requirements.

“The lack of any documentary requisite in the PCECP Guidelines and Application Checklist, which includes legal, technical and financial qualification documents, will warrant an automatic disqualification,” the DoE said in a statement on Wednesday.

PCECP, or the Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program, is the department’s initiative to revive exploration activity. The DoE identified 14 areas with potential for oil and gas finds. It also welcomed any entity to nominate areas outside the ones it enumerated.

It was able to receive three bids, one for the Sulu Sea Basin, which will be first to be disclosed to the public on Aug. 16. A second area, Northwest Palawan Basin, is set for disclosure on Aug. 19, and the third, Southeast Luzon Basin, on Aug. 20.

Challengers are welcome to come forward on these dates at the agency’s headquarters in Taguig City.

“The DoE has set up a one-stop-shop at the venue to accommodate any last-minute submissions from challengers until the prescribed deadline,” the agency said.

Challengers have until 11:00 a.m. on each day to submit their application requirements before bids are opened at 1:30 p.m.

The department said each of the three nominating companies had complied with area clearance and nomination requirements prescribed under Department Circular (DC) No. 2017-12-0017 on the PCECP Circular and Guidelines.

It said members of the centralized review and evaluation committee, or C-REC, will be running the bid opening process and conduct a “completeness check” for each submitted proposal.

Qualified applications will be subjected to further evaluation from the C-REC, before the endorsement of the highest-ranked application to Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi. The signing of a corresponding service contract by President Rodrigo R. Duterte follows.

The DoE said it has been “pushing to reinvigorate petroleum exploration and development activities in the country to serve as a cushioning measure against the volatility of oil prices, which has a direct impact on the costs of transport and power.”

It cited a successful case — the Malampaya deep water gas-to-power project — the largest natural gas industrial project in the Philippines, which it said recovered all costs in four years.

“Thus, the Department is 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,” the DoE said. — Victor V. Saulon