PNOC-EC steps up Energy exploration

The board of directors of PNOC Exploration Corporation has approved a budget of P7.042.76 billion for all operations of the PNOC-EC this year, bigger than the P6.568 billion appropriated by the corporation last year.

Gemiliano C. Lopez, Jr. Chairman of the Board of Directors of the PNOC Exploration Corporation (PNOC EC), said yesterday that the prospects for the success of exploration for indigenous sources of energy in the Philippines are brightening.

Addressing the PNOC-EC stockholders meeting, Lopez revealed that the board of directors "increased budget represents the commitment of the PNOC-EC to conduct and intensify exploration and development of indigenous sources of energy in order to augment the energy supply of our country, bring down the cost of energy, ensure its steady and adequate supply and accelerate national economic development in all its aspects."

Lopez said that the PNOC-EC, which is a subsidiary of the state-owned Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) will intensify its exploration, development and production of oil, gas and coal in its six service contracts from the Department of Energy.

"We are confident that in the next few years, with our intensified, concentrated and improved field explorations, we shall eventually discover rich petroleum resources underneath our seas and lands to justify production and development of energy resources, including petroleum, coal and gas," said Lopez.

"Our engineers, geologists, explorers and men in the field are gaining experiencing and getting closer to realizing our dream of acquiring adequate energy resources in our territory," he added.

Lopez said that this year the PNOC-EC Board of Directors:

1. Endorsed the Management's recommendation to drill for petroleum and other hydrocarbons in the Mangosteen Prospect, dubbed Service Contract 37 (SC 37), located at Brgy. Balintocatoc, Santiago City, Isabela, where pre-drilling has already been conducted. This has an area of 220,000 hectares, covering Santiago City, and the towns of Echague and Ramon in Isabela, and in Diffun, Quirino Province.

2. Authorized management to seek a joint venture partner for the Service Contract No. 37 project where PNOC EC holds a 100 percent interest.

3. Gave final approval to Nido Petroleum Ltd as partner of PNOC-EC on Service Contract No. 63 (East Sabina) covering 10,560 square kilometers in Offshore West Palawan, following a favorable opinion of the Government Corporate Counsel on the matter. As technical operator and drilling project operator, Nido is tasked to execute drilling operations in the service contract within the sub-phase 2b period.

4. Approved the extension by five years of the Condensate Lifting Agreement with the company's joint venture partners, Shell Philippines Exploration BV and Chevron Malampaya LLC on the Malampaya Deepwater Gas-to-Power Project (Service Contract No.38). This moves the agreement date from August 1, 2012, to July 31, 2017.

Lopez disclosed that PNOC-EC was granted three new Coal Operating Contracts this year by the Department of Energy. It also submitted a bid for Area 4 (Northwest Palawan) to the 4th Philippine Energy Contracting Round (PECR 4) with a work program for a seven-year exploration of Area 4.

He said the board of directors approved the proposal of the Chairman to create three independent bids and awards committees to ensure transparency and integrity in procurement and other financial transactions in accordance with the Daang Matuwid (Straight Path) policy of the President Benigno Aquino III. Contract bids will be subjected to raffle to avoid collusion.

To safeguard the health of all PNOC-EC personnel, including those in the field and offices, the board approved the proposal of the Chairman for the establishment of Diagnostic Clinic in the company's main office in the Global City (Fort Bonifacio). The board further strengthened safety measures for all our field personnel.

PNOC-EC is scheduled in December 2013 to start operations for its first Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) service station in Mamplasan, Binan, Laguna. The opening of the first CNG service station will be the start of a government program to provide cheaper fuel and clean energy to the transport sector as an alternative to gasoline. It will result in cutting the cost of transportation for both goods and passengers, thus easing the pressure from the rising costs of imported fuel.

Operation of the mother CNG station in Binan is PNOC-EC's participation in the Natural Gas Vehicle Program for Public Transport (NGVPPT) program under the Department of Energy, Lopez explained. Its stated objective is to promote the use of indigenous natural gas in the transport sector and improve the air quality in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces.

The project will make use of the natural gas already being produced by Malampaya Deepwater Gas-to Power Project of PNOC-EC in partnership with Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. and Chevron Malampaya LLC from offshore Palawan. In a memorandum of agreement, Shell has turned over to PNOC-EC CNG station in Biñan for operations and management.

The PNOC-EC Board of Directors approved the allocation of P400 million for the project in a resolution on April 5, 2011.

PNOC-EC is also establishing a second CNG service station at the Philippine Port Authority location in Batangas City.

The PPA Board of Directors has likewise approved a resolution allocating a portion of its property in Batangas City for the purpose. Another 'daughter station' will also be established shortly in the North, thus expanding the CNG transport in Luzon and eventually the rest of the country. Operation of these stations will benefit thousands of commuters, traders and consumers due to cheaper transport fares.