The Philippines has trailed behind in terms of oil and gas development as exploration and drilling works in the oil and gas sector dramatically declined in the past two decades.
Boy Santos
DOE eyes up to 3 oil, gas drillings
Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) - October 4, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi hopes to start exploration works in at least two to three oil and gas prospects under the current administration, taking into account the country’s need to develop indigenous resources amid rising fuel prices.

The Philippines has trailed behind in terms of oil and gas development as exploration and drilling works in the  oil and gas sector dramatically declined in the past two decades.

“During the last administration, we were only averaging three a year and during the time of [president] Gloria

Arroyo, it was eight a year.  In this administration, however, we are experiencing difficulty but we’re rushing it,” Cusi said.

“Our neighbors are doing much more than us. I think Myanmar is doing 29 a year, if I am not mistaken. Vietnam is around 40 a year while Indonesia is doing somewhere around that number,” he said.

That’s why the Department of Energy (DOE) is busy promoting investments in the 14 pre-determined areas (PDAs) for potential petroleum exploration and development activities locally and abroad.

The PDAs include one area in the Cagayan Basin, three in Eastern Palawan, three in Sulu, two in Agusan-Davao, one in Cotabato, and four in Western Luzon, which were previously under the fifth round of the Philippine Energy Contracting Round (PECR).

These PDAs will be offered under the Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program (PCECP), which will be launched in November.

“We are pushing it because the only way for us to find oil is to explore and we know the difficulty of exploring, so the more we explore the more that our chances will be higher,” Cusi said.

Under the PCECP, the DOE hopes that at least two or three of these PDAs will start development within the Duterte administration.

“We have a good chance to find two or three so this is why we’re pushing for an exploration program and conducting roadshows because want to find oil,” Cusi said.

The Energy chief also cited some challenges in attracting investors in the country’s oil and gas sector.

“The issues haunting us are the taxes, the sharing of the taxes and our reputation of changing the rules of the game.  These are creating uncertainties,” Cusi said.

He was referring to the 2009 report of the Commission on Audit (COA) on the Department of Energy (DoE) which said the Malampaya consortium owed the government around P53.14 billion in taxes.

Meanwhile, the DOE is continuously pushing for the lifting of the moratorium on all exploration and drilling works in the disputed waters but this is still dependent on the diplomatic discussions between the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and its counterpart in China.

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