The ban on oil exploration in the West Philippine Sea should be lifted first before the government can invite more businessmen to invest in possible resources there, the Department of Energy (DoE) said on Friday.
“First things first: I want that moratorium lifted,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi told reporters at a briefing.
The department wants the country’s ongoing territorial disputes with the East Asian giant resolved before it begins promoting its new policy on awarding exploration contracts, he said, referring to Department Circular DC2017-12-0017, or the Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program of Awarding Petroleum Service Contracts (PSCs).
Signed on December 27, 2017 and issued on January 23, the circular aims to process applications and award service contracts to interested applicants in a simpler and faster way.
We do not want to stage a roadshow on the revised petroleum contracting round if there are still pending issues, such as taxation, the Energy chief said.
“I have to get that [issue] out of the table already. Once all the issues are settled, we’ll be more convincing and we can attract more investors,” he added.