THE Department of Energy (DoE) said its Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program (PCECP) continues to attract interest from potential investors.

In a statement posted on its Website Friday, the DoE said it has received, to date, 21 requests from 11 companies for area clearances covering portions of the Sulu Sea, Recto Bank, Palawan, Quezon, Albay, and Mindoro.

Of the 21 requests, DoE has issued seven area clearances as of June 25.

Area clearances are granted to applicant-investors whose area of exploration interest has no overlap with other energy projects or restricted areas.

Of the seven companies that have received their area clearances, four have submitted their letters of intent for DoE’s approval and subsequent publication as a PCECP-nominated area.

Meanwhile, three companies have published their nominated areas in the Sulu Sea, Northeast Palawan, and Ragay Gulf, and are open to receive challenges from other prospective investors.

The 60-day challenge period for the Sulu Sea nomination will end at 11 a.m. of Aug. 16, that of the Northwest Palawan nomination will end at 11 a.m. of Aug. 19, while that of the Ragay Gulf nomination will end at 11 a.m. of Aug. 20.

“We need to increase exploration and development activities in the Philippines so that our country 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 G. Cusi was quoted as saying in the statement.

Under the PCECP, investors may engage in upstream exploration or development activities in two ways: selecting an area from the 14 pre-determined areas offered by the DoE, the application for which ends 11:00 am on Aug. 19, or proposing their own areas for exploration, which begins by requesting an area clearance.

“Regardless of their method of application, all interested parties must comply with the legal, financial and technical requirements, which include the proposed work program and economic development plan for the contract area,” DoE-Energy Resource Development Bureau Supervising Undersecretary Donato D. Marcos said.

The DoE reminded interested investors to look into the detailed PCECP application process. — Janina C. Lim