The Philippines is planning to invest P502 billion in the next two decades for its targeted gas reserves extraction of up to 4.0 trillion cubic feet (TCF) as a replacement to the depleting Malampaya field, according to the Department of Energy (DOE).

DOE Undersecretary Felix William B. Fuentebella, during the Energy Investment Forum last Dec. 3, said the investments and capital raising for exploration and development of indigenous oil and gas upstream resources will be among the anchors of the country’s energy security.

“We will continuously provide for the development and utilization of indigenous sources in the form of coal, oil and natural gas,” said Fuentebella.

On the overall target of pursuing developments on indigenous energy resources, Fuentebella stated that aggregate investments could top P1.176 trillion with the heftier pie of P656.06 billion likely funneled into coal mining exploration and development ventures.

Relative to the country’s persistent quest for Malampaya’s replacement, DOE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi indicated that the Duterte administration’s initiative on lifting the exploration moratorium at the West Philippine Sea could reinforce eventual oil and gas development prospects in the specified diplomatically-saddled territories.

The 4.0 TCF target of the exiting Duterte administration is even higher than the full commercial development potential at Malampaya, which had been pegged at a high of 3.4 trillion cubic feet.

“For our petroleum sector, President Duterte’s lifting of the moratorium on the West Philippine Sea has enabled the resumption of exploration activities and the fulfillment of previously halted work program commitments,” Cusi said.

At this stage though, most exploration and production (E&P) investors are still at the process of seeking guidance from the DOE how they could proceed with planned extended seismic surveys and eventual drilling activities, without being hamstrung by Chinese vessels roaming around conflict-ridden areas within the West Philippine Sea.

On further E&P ventures, the energy department is similarly placing its bet on sustained implementation of the Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program (PCECP), especially in the changeover of administration after next year’s elections.

“To help us attain our energy security goal, we are continuously implementing the PCECP to encourage the exploration and development of the country’s untapped petroleum resources,” Cusi stressed.

The energy department previously said it recommended at least five petroleum service contracts for President Duterte’s approval – and once these are awarded, they can help shore up prospects for indigenous oil and gas investments.

Source: Manila Bulletin (