P1B Investments for Coal Projects

The Department of Energy yesterday reported that it expects P1 billion in fresh investments from eight local companies which it will give two-year coal exploration contracts this week.

Some 11 blocks were offered under the fourth Philippine Energy Contracting Round (PECR 4).

Energy Undersecretary Ramon Allan Oca yesterday said the eight firms are Altura Mining Philippines Inc. for Area 3 in Catanduanes; Semirara Mining Corp. for Areas 9 and 25-B in Oriental Mindoro and Sarangani, respectively; Empire Asia Mining Corp. for Area 18-B in Surigao del Sur; SKI Mining Corp. for Area 19-A in Surigao del Sur; Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corp. for Areas 19-B, 29 and 30-A in Surigao del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay, respectively; South Davao Development Corp., Inc. for Area 8 in Occidental Mindoro; Blackstone Mineral Resources Inc. for Area 27 in Zamboanga Sibugay; and Mega Philippines Inc. for Area 23 in South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani.

Oca said that the contracts are “(in) the process of signing” and will be officially awarded to the winning firms this week.

Meanwhile, Oca said that the DOE has already referred to MalacaƱang the application of five companies for the petroleum blocks.

The companies are Planet Gas Pty Ltd for Area 1 in Cagayan Basin; the consortium of Philex Petroleum Corp., Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corp. and PetroEnergy Resources Corp for Area 4 in Northwest Palawan Basin; the consortium of Pitkin Petroleum Plc and Philodrill Corp. for Area 5 in Northwest Palawan Basin; NorAsian Energy Philippines Inc. for Area 7 in Mindoro Basin-Cuyo Platform; and Loyz Oil Pte Ltd for Area 14 in East Palawan Basin.

Because some of the petroleum areas being offered are considered as “disputed,” the DOE said that MalacaƱang has to have the final say on the applications.

According to Oca, the coal service contracts are offered for a period of two years and are extendable for another two years. The petroleum contracts, meanwhile, are for seven years extendable for three years.

He noted that a minimum of $5 million is needed to conduct a 3D seismic study on the petroleum blocks.

“Coal exploration, on the other hand, is less expensive compared to petroleum,” Oca said. Under the PECR rules, the DOE allows 100 percent foreign ownership for the petroleum contracts but only a maximum of 40 percent stake on the coal blocks.

Source: Malaya