THE Department of Energy (DoE) is hoping that a new round of contracting will spur more petroleum exploration ventures and close the resource development gap with regional neighbors.
The DoE will launch the Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program (PCECP) on Thursday.
DoE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said his office was “aggressively pursuing” the implementation of the contracting program to set a strong “Explore, Explore, Explore” program.
“We have been grossly trailing behind our neighbors in terms of petroleum exploration and development activities. It is high time that we step up. We need to attain energy security and sustainability to minimize our vulnerability to global oil price shocks,” he said in a statement during the weekend.
“Harnessing our indigenous energy resources would also go far in helping us meet the country’s increasing energy demand as we continue to usher in economic progress,” he added.
The program offers two modes of application that potential investors may pursue.
First, interested parties may wish to bid on the 14 pre-determined areas identified by the DoE all over the country — one in Cagayan, three in east Palawan, three in Sulu Sea, two in Agusan-Davao, one in Cotabato, and four in west Luzon.
Thursday’s launch will officially open the application period, which will be for 180 days.
The DoE said applicants may opt to nominate and publish other areas of interest to them. Through this mode, applications could be submitted at any time of the year, and subject to a “challenge” period of 60 days.
Accepted applications will be evaluated by the DoE’s centralized review and evaluation committee based on the criteria under Department Circular No. DC2017-12-0017, which adopts the PCECP mode of awarding petroleum service contracts and creating the panel.
Before the launch, the DoE conducted road shows to boost awareness of the program, including one in Singapore in August.
In October, President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed Service Contract No. 76, the first service contract under his term. The contract covers area 4 of eastern Palawan and was awarded to Israeli firm, Ratio Petroleum Ltd. The DoE said the deal signalled the administration’s push to revive the country’s upstream petroleum industry.
At present, 23 petroleum service contracts are active in the Philippines with the following developers: Shell Philippines Exploration B.V.; Total E&P Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd.; Philippine National Oil Co.-Exploration Corp.; Nido Petroleum Pty. Ltd.; Philodrill Corp.; PXP Energy Corp.; and Galoc Production Co.
The Malampaya deepwater gas-to-power project off the Palawan coast is so far the largest and most successful natural gas industrial project in the Philippines. — Victor V. Saulon