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Energy to Bid Out More Petroleum Exploration Areas

Undersecretary Ramon Oca said the oil and gas areas will be offered through the second phase of this year's Philippine Energy Contracting Round (PECR), which kicked off with the bidding of 30 coal exploration areas last month.

"We will try if we can bid out [oil and gas areas] by this month or next month. We're looking at maybe five or six areas," he said.

Launched in 2005, the PECR is aimed at drawing investors into local energy projects to reduce the country's reliance on imported fuel such as oil and coal.

Last year, the DOE awarded five petroleum service contracts, four geothermal service contracts and four coal-operating contracts.

Oca said the department is studying areas that would be offered to investors.

He, however, said the bidding for the coal areas, most of which were nominated by investors, drew strong interest from participants.

"Many companies asked about the bidding. There were foreign companies that were interested too," he said.

Areas offered for coal exploration include Boljoon, Carmen, Asturias and Naga in Cebu; General Nakar, Polillo island and Tagkawayan in Quezon; Cataingan, Masbate; Gubat, Sorsogon; Rapu-Rapu, Albay; Caramoran, Panganiban, Viga, Catanduanes; Godod, Zamboanga del Norte; Diplahan-Buug, Diplahan, Siay, Payao and Naga in Zamboanga Sibugay; Manay and Tarragona in Davao Oriental; Bunawan, Sibagat and Trento in Agusan del Sur; Kitcharao and Gigaquit in Surigao del Norte; Cagwait-Marihatag, San Agustin-Lianga and Tandag-Tago in Surigao del Sur; Sarangani and South Cotabato; and Bagumbayan in Sultan Kudarat.

The contracting round for coal will close on June 8. This will be followed by the oil and gas contracts and then by geothermal service contracts. (Manila Times)

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