By Myrna M. Velasco
A good mix of seven local and foreign investors are seeking clearance from the Department of Energy (DOE) for their targeted nomination of service areas in at least 14 petroleum blocks qualifying under the Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program.
According to DOE Assistant Secretary Caron Aicitel E. Lascano, the petroleum blocks being targeted are those in Sulu, Recto Bank, Palawan basin, Quezon, Albay and Mindoro.
Beyond these targeted areas, the energy official indicated that “to date, three (3) companies have successfully acquired area clearance upon which they can formally nominate upon submission of letter of interest.”
The prospective areas of nomination, it was noted, are separate from the 14 pre-determined areas (PDAs) being offered by the government, of which proposals’ submission of 180-day period will lapse in May this year.
The pre-determined areas are also imposed with a non-refundable fee of P200,000; and that will also warrant the investor an access to the data package of its targeted petroleum block. At least 18 investors have already indicated to submit letters-of-interest for the PDAs.
“For the pre-determined areas, the interested companies have already started data viewing,” Lascano said.
The energy department has not been divulging the names of the interested companies as these investors signed a non-disclosure agreement with the agency.
For petroleum block nomination, an investor-applicant is required an application fee of P200,000 – and its preferred area will have to be subject to a 60-day challenge; with the challenger-firm mandated to post a higher fee of P1.0 million. That block will also have to undergo publication process at the expense of the original nominating party.
Energy Undersecretary Donato D. Marcos previously indicated that the DOE will not approve block nominations yet at the so-called conflict areas within the West Philippine Sea until the Philippine government can come up with a mutually acceptable “joint exploration framework” with the government of China.