- The Department of Energy (DOE) has announced that the bidding process for oil exploration activities in “conflict areas” has begun.
DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi admitted that China initially resisted because of its nine-dash claims at the disputed territory. However, the Philippine government insists “that is ours,” which resulted in authorities to offer the blocks under the petroleum contracting as reported by the Manila Bulletin.
The two countries are still negotiating how they can sort out an acceptable legal framework toward “joint exploration activities” in these diplomatically strained territories, Cusi explained.
“For us at DOE, we want to proceed because the country needs it for energy security. The department is pushing it,” he said, while emphasizing that they continue to entice investors to look at the blocks on offer.
Meanwhile, Cusi noted that the DOE will open bids for four nominated oil and gas blocks that had been previously set for a 60-day challenge period. However deadlines for offers to Areas 5, 6, 7 and 8 have been scheduled May 5 and 8 this year, but due to lockdown restrictions bidding had been rescheduled.
“We will open (the bids) as soon as the quarantine is lifted, or when movement restrictions are eased, and people can start working and the companies can attend,” he said.