Govt extends deadline for energy contracting round to June

interphoto_1380044875The Energy Department extended by three months the deadline for the submission of bids for oil exploration areas, amid declining crude prices in the world market.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla, however, said the agency was still confident the Philippine Energy Contracting Round 5 would attract more bidders.

“We have extended the deadline to about June this year. We want to get quality participants, so we are extending that,” Petilla said.

Petilla said a survey among the oil companies showed they wanted an extension of the deadline to get a good survey of the exploration blocks being offered.

“But there are seven companies who already bought the data kits,” he said.

Petilla said the auction was expected to get strong interest, as current low crude prices were seen temporary.

“Even if oil prices have been plunging, it takes time to explore. It will take them years and they are actually looking at the fact that the oil prices will not remain where they are,” Petilla said.

Energy undersecretary Zenaida Monsada earlier said the contracting round for petroleum had received interest from five foreign oil and gas firms.

“They are all foreign so we encourage them to take local partners,” Monsada said.

 Among the interested firms are ConocoPhillips, the third largest integrated energy company in the US; ROC Oil’s Malaysian unit, a leading oil and gas company of Australia; PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chevron and the largest producer of Indonesia’s crude oil; French oil giant Total which has a stake in service contract 56; and Petronas, Malaysia’s oil and gas company.

The government is offering 11 petroleum blocks or areas for oil and gas exploration and development under PERC 5.

These include Area 1 located in southeast Luzon, Areas 2 and 3 in Masbate and Iloilo, Areas 4 and 5 in northwest Palawan, Area 6 in southwest Palawan, Area 7 in west Palawan and Areas 8,9,10 and 11 in west Luzon.

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