By Myrna M. Velasco
The Department of Energy (DOE) has scheduled the 60-day challenge period for a new petroleum block that was nominated based on the policy framework set forth under the Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program (PCECP) of the government.
The petroleum block, which has been held “nominated area no. 5” under the DOE-designed PCECP straddles Mindoro-Cuyo basin.
According to the department, the challenge period kicked off on January 31 and will wind up on March 31 this year – which is also the date when the bid submissions shall be opened.
“Deadline for the submission of documents by applicants (counter-proponents) is 60 calendar days from date of publication by the nominating party,” the energy department has emphasized. As a matter of policy, the nominating party has not been disclosed as yet by the department.
The “challenger-firms” are instructed to submit complete application documents at the DOE records management division and must also pay the corresponding fee of ₱1.0 million.
This is already the fifth petroleum block that has been nominated by interested investors – the first four had also been subjected to a challenge period last year.
Under the modified petroleum contracting round framed under the Duterte administration, interested parties could either nominate their preferred blocks or they could join the auction for the pre-determined areas (PDAs) that the DOE will schedule.
The first PDAs had been bidded out last year, but of the fourteen areas tendered, only three blocks were able to secure offers.
Given such fledgling outcome in the PCECP auction, energy department officials previously indicated that the blocks which did not corner bids may also be turned into “nominated” areas.
For block nomination, the applicant for a petroleum service contract (PSC) shall undertake submission through a written communication addressed to the Review and Evaluation Committee of the DOE. The application fee for this is set at ₱200,000.
As directed, the technical description of the nominated area shall be in accordance with the “prescribed petroleum blocking and monitoring system that divides the Philippine archipelago into meridional blocks.”