THE Department of Energy (DoE) has received proposals from eight entities that are planning to explore areas within the Philippines for their possible petroleum reserves under the country’s new conventional energy contracting round, an official of the agency said.
“Eight have signified their intention or have sent their letter of intent to nominate some potential areas in the 16 sedimentary basins of the Philippines,” DoE Undersecretary Donato D. Marcos said on Wednesday.
He was referring to the “nomination by publication” option under the Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program (PCECP), the DoE’s initiative to spur exploration by offering areas in the country’s with potential oil and gas reserves.
Under the PCECP, potential investors have two modes of application to pursue the 14 pre-determined areas identified by the DoE, namely one in Cagayan, three in east Palawan, three in Sulu Sea, two in Agusan-Davao, one in Cotabato, and four in west Luzon. The areas are not within the seas being contested by China and the Philippines. The application period is 180 days.
Potential applicants may also nominate and publish other areas of interest at any time of the year. Their application will be subjected to a 60-day challenge period.
The DoE launched the latest contracting round in November last year.
Sa 14, mga tatlo pa lang (Of the 14 pre-determined areas, only about three [have attracted interest]),” Mr. Marcos said, adding that interest is stronger outside the areas pre-determined by the DoE.
He declined to disclose the identities of the companies that signified to participate in the energy contracting round. He said the 60-day challenge period would start once the interested contractor publishes the nominated area.
Mr. Marcos said the eight were still completing the required clearance, including a DoE approval that their identified areas do not overlap with existing contracts or that they are free from any exploration ban imposed by local government units.
But Mr. Marcos said he was looking forward to interest from foreign entities, as the DoE scheduled six international road shows to drum up interest in PCECP. The road shows will be held in London, Houston and Singapore, among others. — Victor V. Saulon