Manila Bulletin

Se­nate plans to re­frame PNOC man­date as oil/gas ex­plo­ration rm

- By MYRNA M. VE­LASCO Business · Oil · Energy · Oil and Gas Mining · Industries · Mining · Philippine National Oil Company · Philippines · Asia · Malaysia · Petronas Gas · Indonesia · Shell · Pertamina

The Se­nate com­mit­tee on en­ergy is ling a leg­isla­tive mea­sure that will re-frame the in­vest­ment func­tion of staterun Philip­pine Na­tional Oil Com­pany (PNOC), so it can con­cen­trate its ac­tiv­i­ties on oil and gas ex­plo­ration ven­tures.

“We’re study­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of re­form­ing the Char­ter of PNOC to fo­cus on drill, drill, drill and ex­plore, ex­plore, ex­plore – be­cause that was re­ally its man­date dur­ing the 1970s,” Se­na­tor Sherwin T. Gatchalian said.

With that pro­posed leg­is­la­tion, he opined that the in­vest­ment ac­tiv­i­ties of the gov­ern­ment-owned rm will have to be re-fo­cused on oil and gas – given the un­ex­plored and un­der­ex­plored re­sources of the coun­try.

“We’re in the mid­dle of do­ing that, there’s al­ready a bill, but we haven’t led it. We’re still re ning it,” the law­maker em­pha­sized.

And while PNOC had ven­tured into other in­dus­tries through­out its cor­po­rate ex­is­tence, Gatchalian noted it is about time for it to go back to its orig­i­nal in­vest­ment man­date in the up­stream pe­tro­leum sec­tor.

“Gas will be the medium-term fuel of choice; and it’s al­ready proven that we have gas re­sources. So, we can take ad­van­tage of our re­sources by do­ing more ex­plo­ration and more seis­mic ac­tiv­i­ties,” he stressed.

There had been pre­vi­ous pro­pos­als to re-in­te­grate sub­sidiary PNOC-Ex­plo­ration Cor­po­ra­tion (PNOC-EC) to its par­ent rm, then that amal­ga­mated cor­po­rate ve­hi­cle shall do the ex­plo­ration ac­tiv­i­ties in the up­stream oil and gas in­dus­try.

The vi­sion is for the Philip­pines to have a state-owned oil and gas com­pany that could match the suc­cess­ful for­ays of other coun­tries, in­clud­ing peers in the South­east Asian re­gion, like Malaysia which has Petronas; and then In­done­sia has Per­tam­ina, among oth­ers.

PNOC-EC it­self has been lin­ing up sev­eral oil and gas ex­plo­ration ven­tures, but it in­di­cated that it will need tech­ni­cally ex­pe­ri­enced and deep-pock­eted part­ners so it can ad­vance de­vel­op­ments of pro­duc­tion elds in case the ex­plored blocks would yield com­mer­cial dis­cov­ery.

Its par­ent rm PNOC is study­ing op­tions on whether or not it is pru­dent to buy the 45 per­cent stake be­ing un­loaded by Shell in the Malam­paya eld, but Gatchalian pointed out the state-run rm may not have the req­ui­site tech­ni­cal know-how to take over the op­er­a­tions of the eld.

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