A publicly listed investor group from Dubai is eyeing to invest in what could be a refinery or a petroleum facility within an industrial park in Bataan to serve as its hub in the region.
This development is expected to benefit the Philippines not only in terms of large investment inflows, as this will also allow the country to, more importantly, further secure adequate fuel supplies. Over the long term, the entry of this Dubai firm may even allow the country to sell and export finished petroleum products to neighboring countries.
“There are very serious discussions with this group that will fit into the profile of something we’re interested in, which is petroleum. This investor will put up resources so we’ll have more crude oil in the country,” said Energy Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras.
Almendras, however, declined to divulge the identity of the investor following the signing of memorandum of agreement and a non-disclosure agreement with the Dubai firm. Contracts, however, are now being prepared to finalize the lease of about 100 hectares of land within the industrial park of PNOC Alternative Fuels Corp. in Bataan.
“The only industries that would fit in the PNOC AFC industrial park are petroleum and petrochemicals. Hopefully, contracts will be signed in the next few months. I’ve been working on this for a year and three months,” he said, noting that the Philippine government has since been trying to develop the said park so it can be offered for use by international investors.
The contracts to be signed, according to Almendras, would only be mainly for leasing, as the Dubai investor group was only interested in the site where it can set up its petroleum facilities.
“They chose the Philippines because of its geographic location, which is really my marketing pitch—because the Philippines is in a strategic location in the region. In the oil industry, if you want to be competitive in the market, you have to be very efficient. Logistics is the name of the game for fuels,” Almendras explained.
Without citing details, Almendras commented that the Dubai investor group was the only group that have immediately committed to bring in a “trailblazing” concept in the global petroleum industry.