Some firms are seen to pause their exploration plans for petroleum sources in the country due to the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, said the Department of Energy (DOE).
“Oil and gas [exploration], not only in the Philippines, but globally, will be affected. Everybody is watching. Some people are already deferring for a year their plans of expansion and operations,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi was quoted in a report.
“Dito sa atin sa ating (Here in our) exploration, we’re also seeing it will be affected because the exploration companies will be rethinking how we will address it,” Cusi added.
The DOE has been continuously working for exploration work to ensure that there will be adequate power supply in the country.
“Tayo naman, sa DoE, (We, at the DoE), we want it to proceed dahil kailangan natin (as the country needs it) for energy security. We’re pushing it, the department is pushing it. We’re trying to encourage that they do it now and we will continue to do that,” said the Energy chief.
In November 2018, the DOE inaugurated the Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program (PCECP), which allows the government to develop and utilize local petroleum sources with local and international exploration companies.
Potential investors can submit their application two ways. Either they submit a bid for 14 predetermined areas (PDAs) provided by the DOE or nominate and publish other areas.
In April, PCECP deferred the opening bids to explore areas due to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) implemented in some areas in Luzon and other parts of the country.
Cusi assured that bids will open under PCECP as soon as the quarantine is lifted.
“We will [open the proposals] as soon as the quarantine is lifted, or lumuwag-luwag (restrictions are eased), and people can start working and the companies can attend. But the department is ready, business as usual naman kami dito (it is business as usual at the DoE) as far as supporting our frontliners,” he said.