PHILIPPINE National Oil Co. (PNOC) and Israel’s Ratio Petroleum Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to “seek to establish cooperation” for the exploration and development of oil and gas resources in the Philippines, the Energy department said Friday.

In a statement, the Department of Energy (DoE) said the MoU was signed by Reuben S Lista, PNOC president and chief executive officer, and Itay Raphael Tabibzada, Ratio Petroleum chief, on Friday at the PNOC office in Taguig City. The signing was witnessed by Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, the ex-officio chair of the company.

The DoE said the MoU includes the entry of PNOC to Service Contract (SC) 76 based on terms to be mutually agreed upon by the parties.

In October, the administration signed its first service contract — SC 76 covering eastern Palawan — with the Israeli firm, signaling the country’s intent to revive the upstream petroleum industry.

The DoE said the MoU provides for cooperation in the conduct of research and feasibility studies; the exchange of technical information, including coordination to facilitate necessary permits and clearances; and the sharing of technical resources and capabilities for project development, starting with SC 76.

It said PNOC had been looking for technology partners to assist its energy activities, particularly in the exploration and development of new oil and gas fields to intensify its contribution to building the country’s energy security and self-sufficiency.

It described Ratio Petroleum as part of the Ratio Group “with an experience of more than three decades in the exploration and production (E&P) industry.

The Israeli company is operating in six countries around the world and is credited with helping develop the Leviathan natural gas field — the largest natural gas field (22tcf) in the Mediterranean Sea.” — Victor V. Saulon