By Myrna M. Velasco
The first petroleum block in the Sulu Sea basin auctioned under the Duterte administration had received no challenger in the 60-day contest period set forth by the Department of Energy.
The nominating investor in Service Area 1 under the Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program (PCECP) is Sulu Sea Energy Resources Development Corporation, a Filipino-owned company that has its operational base in Mindanao.
In an interview with reporters, Sulu Sea Energy President Benjamin G. Loong II said the company’s foray into oil and gas exploration venture will serve as expansion of their business in the mining sector.
He said some of their shareholders in the company are already entrenched players in mining in Mindanao, thus, they are familiar with the investment environment and trajectory in Sulu and other parts of the region.
“We have stockholders who already have existing businesses particularly in the mining sector in Tawi-Tawi and we established this in order to expand our operations. We hope to be able to develop energy resources in the Sulu, Tawi-Tawi area because energy in particular is in short supply and any development particularly in industrial or any other development will require energy,” Loong said.
Sulu Sea Energy, he said, is currently at the process of applying for increase in capitalization at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from P20 million to P100 million.
In the bid opening process, Energy Undersecretary Donato D. Marcos declared that the submission of Sulu Sea Energy “is in complete in form” but it will be subject to 15-day final evaluation before a final verdict on the area nomination will be rendered.
In the pass-fail criteria set out by the energy department for PCECP, the work program comprises 40% of the evaluated rating; 20-percent for the technical proposal; and 40-percent on the financial proposal. In Sulu Sea Energy’s case, it passed all of the three criteria.
If the submission of the proponent will eventually be established as both complete and compliant “in form and in substance,” he noted that an award of the service area can be recommended.
Essentially, the DOE will set out final decision on the recommendation of a service contract award, then that will be forwarded to the President for final approval and eventual signing.