PNOC-EC’s coal exploration plan awaits DOE OK
State-firm PNOC Exploration Corp. (PNOC-EC) has applied for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) green light to look for coal at two exploration blocks in Malangas, Zamboanga Sibugay, as the government pushes to stir up prospecting activities in order to help stimulate the Philippine economy.
This came just a few days after the DOE’s announcement that it would no longer accept applications for endorsement of new coal projects, in particular power plants that run on this fossil fuel.
The DOE has received and opened last Oct. 30 PNOC-EC’s application for a service contract for the prospective coal deposit, according to Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, who also sits as the company’s chair.
Cusi said the PNOC-EC’s filing and the DOE’s receipt of the application related to two coal blocks—designated as 42-I-1 and 42-I-2—was “a milestone in the upstream coal development sector as this is the first application related to coal under the PCECP or Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program.”
The program, laid down in 2017, enables interested companies to either apply for a contract covering areas that the DOE has identified as available, or nominate areas that the applicants themselves identified for exploration of the country’s energy resources including oil and gas as well as coal.
“Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the DOE is committed to tap potential energy exploration so the country could further attain its energy security and sustainability,” Cusi said in a statement. “We are pursuing to harness all our indigenous energy resources as we continue to usher in economic progress amidst adversities.”
He said exploiting the countries coal resources would help in the recovery economy, which was under recession due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In this light, Cusi said, the DOE was committed to expedite all power- and energy-related projects, including those covered by the PCECP.
Earlier last week, Cusi announced during the 2nd Global Ministerial Conference on System Integration of Renewables hosted in Singapore a moratorium on new coal-fired generators, based on a periodic assessment of the country’s energy requirements.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.