PH opens BARMM for energy exploration | Inquirer Business

PH opens BARMM for energy exploration

/ 02:04 AM February 26, 2024


Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla —MEG J. ADONIS

To boost economic growth and attract foreign investors, four areas in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) will be up for grabs for exploration and development of indigenous conventional energy resources, including oil and coal.

The Department of Energy (DOE) will conduct its first Conventional Energy Bid Round for BARMM today, Feb. 26.At the same time, the DOE will offer Northwest Palawan and Southern Cebu basins for development and production of petroleum in the 2024 Philippine Bid Round. Two more areas in Central Luzon will also be offered for hydrogen exploration.


The Philippine Bid Round is a government-led process that invites oil and gas companies to participate in competitive bidding for the right to explore and develop specific areas in the country.


It aims to facilitate oil and gas exploration, promote economic growth and ensure “responsible resource management within the nation,” according to the DOE.

“Leveraging on these opportunities, we invite local and foreign investors to be our partners in achieving energy security and self-sufficiency in the region and the entire Philippines,” Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla said in a statement on Monday.

The DOE did not specify the specific areas up for bidding, as these will only be revealed to investors during the bid rounds.

Attract foreign investors

In July 2023, the DOE signed the Intergovernmental Energy Board circular on the award of petroleum service contracts (PSCs) and coal operating contracts with the BARMM Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Energy (Menre) in a move to attract foreign investors.

Under the circular, a local or foreign company authorized to engage in petroleum exploration and development may apply for PSCs.

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


Applicants may nominate areas of interest for exploration and development. The Menre must first issue its approval prior to any exploration activity.

“The resources identified in the BARMM area are enormous assets that we can fully develop,” Lotilla said.

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“As we go another step forward to harnessing these assets, our aspirations for promoting economic growth, generating employment opportunities and nurturing a thriving business landscape in the region are even closer to realization,” he added. INQ

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