Middle East investors keen on BARMM oil, natgas deals | Inquirer Business

Middle East investors keen on BARMM oil, natgas deals

/ 02:22 AM October 06, 2023

MANILA  -Middle Eastern countries are keen on investing in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), particularly in oil and natural gas exploration, following the regional government’s recent agreement with the national authorities that outlined the standards for petroleum and coal operations, the Department of Energy (DOE) said.

Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla told reporters last week that “major companies” from Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia had a “natural affinity” for and “great interest” in the area.

“It is a very healthy indication that this agreement between the national government and the Bangsamoro government. We are attracting more attention to the possibilities in that region,” the energy chief said.


READ:  Gov’t moves to boost Bangsamoro’s energy sector


Under the DOE’s agreement with the BARMM Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Energy signed in July, a local or foreign company authorized to engage in petroleum exploration and development may apply for petroleum service contracts.

For coal contracts, an applicant must be a corporation or partnership that is 60 percent owned by a Filipino and registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Exploration activities

According to Lotilla, the DOE is encouraging both Middle Eastern and non-Middle Eastern countries to invest in exploration activities in BARMM to unlock the energy potential in the region.

READ: Marcos hails BARMM energy exploration, development initiatives

He also emphasized that areas in the Sulu Sea were relatively underexplored, but there was now “greater confidence” from investors abroad due to the current administration being more “welcoming” to foreign investments.

“They have expressed interest now in doing exploration activities in the Sulu Sea area. We will do our best to make sure that the foreign investors indeed find a welcoming investment climate in the country,” Lotilla said.


The DOE previously said that Mindanao had vast, untapped energy potential, as proven by the 800-megawatt excess power capacity the region could lend to the Visayas and Mindanao.

Lotilla noted, however, that BARMM was also reporting only 28-percent electrification in some parts of Sulu.

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President Marcos had tasked the DOE and its attached agencies to ensure 100-percent electrification by the end of his term in 2028.

TAGS: Investors, Middle East, oil and gas

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