By Myrna M. Velasco
Keeping an eye on several major gas blocks for prospective commercial discoveries, the Philippines is now starting its long-term journey on targeted gas discovery of 5.7 trillion cubic feet (TCF), more than double the scale of reserves extracted from the US$4.5-billion Malampaya deep water gas-to-power project.
But as an initial step to this long haul investment trajectory, the Department of Energy (DOE) has identified six basins in which the 14 petroleum blocks to be offered as pre-determined areas (PDAs) under the Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program (PCECP) are situated.
According to Energy Undersecretary Donato D. Marcos, the 14 service areas to be tendered straddle the basins of Cagayan, East Palawan, Sulu Sea, West Luzon, Agusan-Davao and Cotabato.
The PDAs offer is one mode of enticing investors’ interest in the re-packaged petroleum contracting round of the Philippines – the other one being the submission of unsolicited offers on year-round basis.
Further on the long-term targeted gas find for the country, documents from the DOE showed that portended discoveries are focused on Sampaguita block at Recto Bank along West Palawan; and Sta Monica block in Northwest Palawan.
Another one on DOE’s goal would be Mangosteen petroleum block which is along the Cagayan basin in Northern Luzon. Apart from gas discovery that shall replace the gas-depleting Malampaya field, the energy department is also yearning for additional oil discoveries that could hopefully top the commercially producing Nido oil field in Palawan.
Beyond what is being wished for as massive-scale gas discoveries, the DOE is pushing the envelope for potential oil find of up to 57.12 million barrels; and prospective condensate extraction of up to 56.81 million barrels.
Energy officials admitted though that it remains a ‘rough sailing odyssey’ on the government’s hunt for the next Malampaya given the various ‘sensitive and problematic’ issues that have yet to be settled – if only to stimulate investors’ appetite into the 14 petroleum blocks that will be offered soon by the government.
Marcos previously noted that the choice of the 14 pre-determined areas had proven to be a tricky process because the government will also need to consider the ‘diplomatic concerns’ that the country has yet to resolve firmly with China.