Circular between DOE, MENRE kicks off coal, petroleum investments in BARMM


The Intergovernmental Energy Board (IEB) Circular was signed yesterday by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy (MENRE) of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). This collaboration between the two entities aims to facilitate the growth and regulate energy-related matters within the region.

This circular focuses on the collaborative awarding of Petroleum Service Contracts (PSCs) and Coal Operating Contracts (COCs) within the BARMM.

“The successful establishment of this IEB Circular holds immense potential. It will not only contribute to the energy security of the country but also unlock vast opportunities for economic growth in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region,” Energy Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla said.

The IEB Circular operationalizes the provisions under Section 10, Article XIII of Republic Act No. 11054, also known as the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region. This provision allows for the joint granting of privileges, rights, and concessions related to the exploration, application, and development of uranium, as well as fossil fuels like petroleum, natural gas, and coal that are within the jurisdictional boundary of Bangsamoro.

“By clarifying the legal framework, the Circular allows the region to leverage its energy resources and attract investments,” Lotilla adds.

In addition, the Circular aims to increase regional investment from foreign investors and strengthen the expansion of the energy sector. When they are put into effect, the BARMM’s application process for COCs and PSCs will begin. 

The framework further defines the criteria, requirements, and processes that must be followed by businesses in order to apply for and manage COCs and PSCs, as well as to guarantee that exploration and development operations adhere to tight guidelines and the industry’s best practices. 

Regarding petroleum contracts, any individual, company, or group of companies, whether local or foreign, can apply. This includes joint ventures or consortia specifically formed or authorized to participate in petroleum exploration and development.

Anyone interested in applying for coal contracts must be a corporation, a partnership with at least 60% Filipino ownership, be properly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), or be a cooperative that has been set up and authorized specifically for the specific purpose of taking part in coal exploration and development. 

Additionally, applicants are required to follow the Foreign Investment Act and Section 2-A of Commonwealth Act No. 108, generally known as the Anti-Dummy Law. 

An applicant may also nominate an area that interests them at any time with the approved Joint Circular. Participants who are interested can send their application to the MENRE following the release of the predetermined regions. 

The National and Bangsamoro Governments’ shared objectives of achieving a sustainable future are being met by this significant development, which is a necessary step in guaranteeing the appropriate use of energy resources.