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Five more coal contracts to be awarded tomorrow

THE DEPARTMENT of Energy (DoE) will award five more coal contracts tomorrow in addition to the 11 which were previously awarded.

"These are the areas that had multiple proponents or applicants, so we just had to be very careful in evaluating the application," DoE Undersecretary Ramon V. Oca told reporters yesterday.

Opened last May, the Philippine Energy Contracting Round (PECR) for Coal offered 30 areas, or block systems, within the major coal basins of the country. Under the PECR, winning bidders are awarded contracts to explore and develop the country’s coal resources.

Among the areas offered for the coal contracting round were Cebu, Quezon, Masbate, Sorsogon, Albay, Catanduanes, Zamboanga Sibugay and del Norte, Davao Oriental, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte and del Sur, South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat.

The DoE Contacts Negotiating Panel evaluated the applications based on the company’s resource exploration strategy, utilization and production approach, evidence of available funds and financial track record, technical resources and validity of legal documents.

Coal deposits are scattered all over the Philippines but the largest deposit is located in Semirara Island, Antique.

The country’s largest coal producer, Semirara Mining Corporation, accounts for about 92% of total local coal production.

The Philippines has a vast potential for coal resources, with DoE data indicating the country’s coal resource potential at 2.37 billion metric tons.

Last year, the Energy department awarded five petroleum contracts, four geothermal contracts, and four coal contracts. — J. B. F. Santos, Business World

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