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Israeli firm, 13 others eye petroleum blocks

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By Myrna M. Velasco

Israeli firm Delek Group is eyeing two petroleum blocks that had been part of the newly-launched Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program (PCECP) of the Department of Energy.

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi (Source: https://www.bloomberg.com)

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi (Source: https://www.bloomberg.com)

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said the company has already “signified its interest and had formally communicated its plan to submit proposals for two blocks.”

Delek is the biggest oil and gas exploration company in Israel and it has advanced commercial development of two gas fields along East Mediterranean basin – including 21.4 trillion cubic feet of gas at Leviathan and 11.2 TCF at Tamar reservoirs.

So far, this is already the second Israeli company that had set its sights on the country’s search for oil and gas resources – part of the government’s agenda to advance energy security goals. The first one was Ratio Petroleum Ltd., of which petroleum service contract (PSC), was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in October this year.

Apart from the Israeli firm, the energy department indicated that 13 more companies have already sounded off interest to submit proposals for the 14 pre-determined areas for oil and gas search that had already been kicked off for contracting process.

According to the energy chief, several companies already made submissions on their preferred blocks under the nomination process – including foreign firms.

He indicated some companies tendered proposals for two blocks; and there are even firms having submissions for up to four blocks.

For the pre-determined areas, the PCECP timeframe is for 180 days and the application fee had been pegged at P200,000 – it is non-refundable and it includes a data package.

For the blocks that are under ‘nomination’ process, the application fee also amounts to P200,000; but it will be subject to a 60-day challenge by other interested party provided that the challenger will be willing to post the mandatory fee of P1.0 million.

Cusi is reiterating his appeal to prospective investors to keenly look at the petroleum blocks being offered by the government, with him echoing the Office of the President’s commitment that those injecting capital will be assured of stability of investment policies in the sector.

“There is so much untapped potential for energy exploration in the Philippines that is ripe for the picking as our energy needs grow every year,” he said, adding that “with the savings that we can generate from the utilization of our own energy resources, our economy and our people can reap he benefits.”

Cusi expounded “the application process under the PCECP has been streamlined to provide potential investors with a quicker turnaround time for administrative and documentary requirements to prevent unnecessary delays.”

He stressed that “with the success of our ASEAN neighbors in the energy exploration activities, we deem it our priority for local exploration to flourish as we are driven to make sure that the demand for energy is met.”

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