THE state-owned Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) is looking at alternatives as it tries to maximize the potential of its assets to earn more for the national coffers.
“The new PNOC will have a complete turnaround from the old ways of just for waiting money earned from the interest in our properties, shares from Malampaya and rentals of government facilities. This is part of our job to earn more for the government,” PNOC President Reuben Lista said in an interview.
The company is looking at building the PNOC Energy Center to house all energy-related agencies and companies just like the Petronas Tower in Malaysia.
The proposed energy center will rise in a 5.2-hectare property in Taguig City, one of the newly established business districts in Metro Manila, and where the PNOC and the Department of Energy (DOE) headquarters are both located.
“We are sitting in the most expensive real estate in the country – 5.2 hectares at P550,000 per square meter. That is equivalent to P27.5 billion if we are going to sell it and will go to the National Treasury,” Lista said.
“But as a business company we will not sell it. Instead, we are inviting everybody to invest with us. We are putting up an iconic building here, just like the Petronas of Malaysia and Singapore, where all the government offices related to energy will be housed and renting including all private companies that has something to do with energy,” he said.
“We will make a beautiful and iconic building, and the rest we will make it as commercial spaces,” he added.
To achieve maximum returns on the property, the PNOC may go into a joint venture with other investors over the property.
“We have ideas already. There was a study before but there are other offers. There are foreign financiers who expressed their interest to invest. Also, there are two local parties interested,” Lista said.
Energy Secretary Alfonso G.Cusi is discussing the proposals almost on a daily basis with Lista. “It is an exchange of ideas with the secretary and he agrees with our thinking,” Lista said.
“We are just providing an energy center for ourselves, but, in the meantime, make money on the side. We are not competing with real estate. Forget real estate. That’s not my concern. I’m building an iconic building which will house everything to utilize my real estate property. I should make money out of it. I’m not competing with the Ayalas, I’m putting it up on my own,” he said.
“We will have to negotiate. We will have to relate property and investments. There are no figures yet. These are still ideas on where we are going in the next six years. And maybe this will continue after we are gone, because these are good ideas,” he added.
You can’t always dedicate it to a term—the assurance that it will continue after the term of President Duterte—because it is a good project and once you start a good project it will continue, Lista said. “Any administration that does not continue a good project will be judged in the future, no matter how much they try to thwart it,” he said.
Lista said that there are least four interested investors. “We have some local and some foreign. The design will be something you can be proud of.”
The PNOC also owns the 19.22-hectare Energy Supply Base (ESB) in Mabini, Batangas; the 5.3-hectare former Batangas Coal Terminal Property; the eight lots with an area of 7,597 square meters in Sta. Mesa, Manila; the 11.89-hectares property in Pandacan, Manila; and the 524 hectares of properties in Limay and Mariveles in Bataan.