By Myrna M. Velasco
Following the success of commercial oil extraction at its Alegria onshore oil field in Cebu, China International Mining Petroleum Company Limited (CIMP) has indicated that it will be eyeing new prospects in the Philippine petroleum contracting round.
As noted by CIMP Assistant Country Manager Edgar Benedict Cutiongco, they will be interested to “explore investments for new service areas,” including in the forthcoming offer of pre-determined petroleum blocks by the Department of Energy on its modified Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program.
The Chinese company is not also limiting its investment scouring option in upstream petroleum, but also on coal mining ventures.
When asked on the company’s inclination to look at the offers under PCECP, Cutiongco’s curt reply to media query was “yes,” albeit he qualified that there are other projects in the sector that they have been setting their focus on.
Of particular concern to the Chinese firm at this point is advancing its petroleum service contract (SC) 70 in Central Luzon, which is under another affiliate firm Polyard Petroleum Philippines.
“That is a prospect for gas…that’s still very early at this point, we’re not really putting it yet on the exploration phase,” he said.
The other investment course that the company has been intending to pursue is its coal operating contract (COC) 145 in San Miguel, Surigao de Sur. This is under corporate vehicle Great Wall Mining and Power Corporation.
But like the issues hounding other investors in the sector, CIMP noted that it has also been keeping track of the policy developments on investment incentives scrapping that will both affect the upstream oil and coal industry segments.
The petroleum industry already made its plea to the Department of Finance (DOF) to exclude the upstream petroleum sector in the coverage of tax structure modifications under the second package of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act, but it remains to be seen how this is handled in the final form of the proposed legislative measure.
Investors in the industry have already warned that the tax perks ditch will have chilling effect on capital flow in the sector; and will further deprive the country on its search for the next massive scale gas or commercial oil find.