THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (DoE) will offer fourteen predetermined areas for the exploration, development and production of oil and coal resources in the Philippines early next year.
On the sidelines of the Congressional Oversight Committee on Biofuels hearing last Thursday, Energy Undersecretary Donato Marcos said that these areas – especially in Metro Manila, except one in the Visayas – were identified as "part of the Philippine Conventional Energy Contract (PCECP)."
Areas affected by the ban on oil exploration in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) are excluded in the light of current negotiations between Manila and Beijing.
Marcos's remark came after the Energy Department, issued in the Circular DC2017-12-0017 of January, or the Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program of the Petroleum Service Contracts (PSCs) award, which is aimed at processing applications and assigning deals in a simpler and faster way.
This replaces the old contractual guidelines, under which the DoE offered available areas for exploration and development, and subsequently invited companies to submit proposals.
Under the new circular, signed on 27 December 2017, applicants, whether they are a joint venture or a consortium, will formally nominate the areas of their interest.
Secretary of Energy Alfonso Cusi told reporters in February that his department postponed the roadshow about the new guidelines until the moratorium was lifted and pending issues such as taxation were resolved.
But Marcos said last week that there was a running road show in Singapore to promote the areas.
"We have a one-on-one meeting with all interested service providers or investors … talking and discussing the 14 predefined areas that will be offered early next year," he added.
Applicants can still name the area / areas outside the areas designated by the government through the DoE and have them published for a Swiss challenge.
The department is requesting proposals to develop a database of potential oil and gas resources in the country to encourage more companies to participate.