DOE grants exploration contract for Cotabato Basin

Liguasan Marsh

The Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a petroleum service contract to SK Liguasan Oil and Gas Corporation (SKLOGC) to develop the Cotabato Basin, which includes the Liguasan Marsh. 

According to a Manila Standard report, Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi confirmed the signing of Service Contract (SC) 77 last week. 

Cusi had endorsed the contract to the Office of the President for final approval, which then allowed the DOE to proceed with the awarding of SC77 “provided that SKLOGC shall submit an undertaking stating, among others, that it shall abide by the final decision of the Supreme Court relative to tax assumption provisions of other existing [petroleum service contracts].” 

SC77 covers a 72,000-hectare petroleum-prospective area in the onshore Cotabato Basin, which sits on a 1.2-million hectare area in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, and North and South Cotabato. Together, the four provinces comprised most of the old Cotabato province during the American colonial and postwar periods. 

SKLOGC was the challenger for the nominated Area 9 of the Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program (PCECP) that was launched by the DOE in 2018 to “encourage stakeholders to invest, explore, develop and produce Philippine indigenous energy resources.”

The company passed the completeness check under the evaluation criteria in the PCECP’s guidelines. However, Banaba Oil and Gas Energy Corporation – the original nominating party – failed to comply with the requirements.

SKLOGC was able to identify 22 sites within the SC77 area to have the potential for oil and gas deposits. 

Last year, PNOC-Exploration Corporation (PNOC-EC) expressed its interest to explore the Liguasan Marsh. PNOC-EC’s parent firm Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) is an attached agency of the DOE.