Spanish oil firm eyes Palawan exploration

Published October 31, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Myrna M. Velasco

Spanish energy giant Repsol S.A. has submitted tender for a petroleum service area that it intends to explore and potentially develop within the Northeast Palawan basin.

Department of Energy (DOE) logo
Department of Energy (DOE) logo

The Department of Energy (DOE) announced that the application had already been opened by its Energy Resource Development Bureau (ERDB), but it will still need to go through 15-day evaluation period before it could be known if an award of a service contract is warranted.

The bid submission is for a nominated block that has been packaged as “Service Area 4” by the energy department – one of the tender submission process set forth under the Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program.

At this phase, the DOE indicated that Repsol passed all technical, legal and financial “completeness check” that had been initially assessed in the bid opening early this week, hence, the next step shall delve with “further substantive evaluation.”

Madrid-headquartered Repsol is an energy firm that is now of multinational stature – and it has been among the early foreign firms that expressed interest in the Philippine petroleum contracting program.

The Spanish company had been among the investors which met with the Philippine energy officials during their initial roadshow in Singapore last year.

Following the opening of PCECP bids in August, the DOE announced plans of transforming the petroleum blocks which failed to corner offers into “nominated areas,” so interested companies can submit tenders year-round.

The petroleum contracting program of the Duterte administration had been designed two-pronged: one is via nomination; and the other had been via the initial 14 pre-determined areas (PDAs) of which bids were opened in August.

Only four of the PDAs though secured offers – from mostly local investors. The award of the contracting process is still for final evaluation of Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, who will then recommend the prospective service contract for award and signing by the President.

“We actively welcome all PCECP applications,” had been the message set out by Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi; with him emphasizing that “each one has the potential to bring us closer to desire to maximize the exploration, development and utilization of our indigenous energy resources to help us attain energy security and independence.”

The energy department’s push for vigorous oil and gas exploration ventures in the country is in line with the country’s goal for long-term energy independence.

Compared to its neighbors in the Southeast Asian region, the Philippines is still considerably fledgling when it comes to attracting capital flow in its upstream oil and gas sector.
Investments in this sub-segment of the bigger energy spectrum had long been saddled with low prospectivity dilemmas, diplomatic tussle with China as well as lack and/or weak interpretation of data.
“To help attain energy security, as well as cushion the country from volatility of global oil price markets, the DOE established the PCECP to help reinvigorate petroleum exploration and development activities in the Philippines,” the energy department expounded.