DoE to bid out more coal areas next month
The Department of Energy (DoE) is looking to offer contracts to explore and develop as many as 10 prospective coal blocks in the upcoming bidding round as the government fast-tracks the development of this resource to secure national energy supply.
Energy Undersecretary Jose M. Layug Jr. told reporters that the DoE has lined up five coal blocks for auction, but was still looking to add five more areas.
The additional areas would require a go-ahead from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to ensure that these were not overlapping the so-called “protected areas” in the country, Layug said at the sidelines of the Shell Media dialogue on Monday.
The energy official said most of the areas to be offered under the Philippine Energy Contracting Round (PECR) 4 for coal—which will be launched in end-October—were in Mindanao.
The PECR 4 provides for a transparent and competitive system of tendering of the country’s onshore and offshore resource blocks (coal, petroleum and geothermal). Under this process, the DoE would determine the winning bidders based on specific technical, legal and financial criteria, after which Malacañang would award the service contracts.
Layug stressed the need to conduct such bidding to harness the country’s own coal resources. There are, at present, 30 coal operating contracts (COCs) for projects in the exploration stage and 30 in the development and production stage.
Still, there are other areas that can be explored for coal production. The DoE earlier identified 12 prospective coal areas that could yield a total of 1.81 billion metric tons.
Data from the DoE showed that Luzon holds a total resource potential of 455.5 million MT in four areas—Cagayan Valley with 336 million MT; Polilio, Batan, Catanduanes, 17 million MT; and Mindoro, 100 million MT.
Visayas was found to have total potential resource of 766 million MT in four areas—Semirara Coal Basin, which holds an estimated 570 million MT; the Negros Coal Basin, 4.5 million MT, and Cebu Coal Basin, 165 million MT.
The energy department also found Mindanao to hold a total resource potential of 584.4 million MT in four coal-rich areas—Surigao, 209 million MT; and Zamboanga, 45 million MT.—Amy R. Remo