The government is expecting P492.4 billion worth of investments if the oil and gas service contracts (SCs) to be awarded under the Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program (PCECP) designed by the Duterte administration will eventually reach commercial development and production phases.

Just within the seven-year work program submitted by the SC operators to the Department of Energy (DOE), it was stipulated that the scale of investments flowing will be P10.1 billion for petroleum exploration activities, including those in the West Philippine Sea.

But once the petroleum blocks will result in commercial-scale discoveries, the DOE is calculating total investments of P94.4 billion for the service contracts yielding oil output; and P398 billion investments will be coming from targeted commercial gas finds once concretized.

Based on estimates, the energy department is expecting oil production hovering at 66 million barrel and probable gas reserves extraction of 3.5 trillion cubic feet (TCF), a scale comparable to the proven reserves of the Malampaya field.

The energy department received 15 applications for oil and gas exploration at petroleum blocks in various parts of the country – including those that had been applied for in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Of the total applications lodged, the energy department specified that four new service contracts (SCs) had already been endorsed to the Office of the President for approval on the award to the applicant-investors; while four others are under evaluation.

“The awarding of these eight SCs will result in potential revenues amounting to P64.5 million that may possibly reach up to P87.7 million – with minimum total investment of P8.4 billion once these SCs reach the end of their respective seven-year exploration period,” the DOE stressed.

The department similarly emphasized that the targeted investments to be injected for the petroleum service contracts in the BARMM areas could reach at least P1.7 billion.

As pointed out by the energy department, “oil production may still be expected from Northwest Palawan and Visayan basins,” while gas production is projected in Northwest Palawan, Visayan, Southwest Palawan and Mindoro-Cuyo basins.

“The DOE will continue to supervise the SCs and monitor the target total production of 66 million barrels of crude oil and 3.5 TCF of natural gas by 2040,” the agency said.

The department is similarly eyeing that the prospects in the BARMM jurisdictions “may further boost the exploration, development and utilization of fossil fuels.”

Currently, however, the DOE noted that “awarding of service contracts for BARMM areas were held in abeyance since modality of processing and awarding for petroleum investments within the area will have to be worked out by the intergovernmental relations body,” – or the contingents equally representing the national and the Bangsamoro governments.