Manila Bulletin

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


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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