THE Department of Energy Philippines (DOE) is expecting to finish the technical evaluations for the oil and gas contracting round by the end of the month, an official told reporters said.
Evaluations for the coal contracting round however are not expected until July 2012.
"We are proceeding with the technical evaluation, by the end of this month and we will finish at least the technical evaluation of all the bids we have received. So after that we will recommend already to the Secretary. Coal will be sometime in July because it's a larger number," said Energy Undersecretary Jose M. Layug, Jr. in an interview.
He added the department will be choosing "the best bids from those areas with multiple bids for approval."
AREAS UP FOR BID
The government is offering 15 oil and gas exploration areas in the 4th Philippine Energy Contracting Round.
The department earlier offered 12 other areas for oil and gas exploration on April 27, 2012.
Three other areas will be bid out by the end of July 2012.
These areas are located in northwest Palawan, near the Galoc oil field and the Malampaya natural gas field.
Of the 12 areas bid out last month, seven areas received bids.
Some of the bidders included:
- Forum Pacific, Inc., a consortium of The Philodrill Corp. and Philex Petroleum, MinEnergy Pte. Ltd.,
- Loyz Oil Pte. Ltd., the consortium of Mitra Energy Ltd.,
- Kuwait Petroleum Exploration Corporation
- Tapoil Ltd.,
- Helios Mining and Energy
- Dil Moro Energy Corp.
- NorAsian Energy Ltd.,
- Black Swan Energy Ltd.,
- Frontier Oil Ltd. and Planet Gas Ltd Clean Rock Renewable Energy Resources Corp.
- Monte Oro Resources Energy, Inc.
Mr. Layug said the department will put a premium on bidders with more aggressive work programs for the potential exploration site.
The government is expecting $7.5 billion in investments from the contracting round.
The coal contracting round offered 38 exploration areas with about 28 sites receiving bids from investors. Due to the interest in oil and gas exploration in the country, Mr. Layug said there have been several seismic firms that have approached the government to offer surveying services.
"We noticed that the areas that did not that did not get any bids were areas that did not have that much data. After the offering round, we were approached by several firms who want to conduct seismic surveys," said Mr. Layug.
The department however would not disclose which firms approached them.
Mr. Layug said the government does not have the capability to conduct many of the seismic surveys needed for oil exploration.
Energy Undersecretary Jose M. Layug Jr. said that once completed, the group will be able to make its recommendations to the energy secretary as to which party or company should be awarded a petroleum service contract.
According to Layug, the 13 offers being processed now included the nine submissions that were accepted during the opening of the bids last April, and the four other offers, which were initially rejected by the DoE but later reconsidered.
The move to fast-track the processing of the bid offers, which were opened only last April, was meant to hasten the development of local indigenous resources, cut costly oil imports and help ensure the country's energy security over the long term.
The last time that the DoE had awarded a petroleum service contract was in April 2009, to UK-based Pitkin Petroleum Ltd. and South China Resources Inc., for Service Contract 71, which covered 1.16 million hectares within the Mindoro-Cuyo basin.
Layug remained hopeful that the DoE would receive more offers from big foreign exploration players when the Philippine government auctions off Areas 3,4 and 5, all located within northwest Palawan, by end-July.
The northwest Palawan basin is reportedly one of the most prolific oil and gas basins in the Philippines and is home to the country's most successful natural gas project, the $4.5-billion Malampaya gas field.
Currently, production within this basin alone had reached roughly 58 million barrels of oil, 800 billion cubic feet of gas and 40 million barrels of condensate.
It is estimated that the basin has further resource potential of 400 million barrels of oil and 2.200 trillion cubic feet of gas.