Senator Win Gatchalian wants to establish a national policy and framework for petroleum exploration and development in the country by amending the charter of the government-owned and controlled Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) with the end goal of reducing the country’s dependence on oil imports.
In filing Senate Bill No. 380, Gatchalian is adamant the PNOC should refocus its mandate exclusively on oil and gas exploration and development.
“Mahalaga ang papel ng gobyerno sa pagpapalawig ng petroleum exploration at development sa bansa. Dapat nating mapagtibay ang mandato ng PNOC para palakasin ang industriya lalo na’t nakasalalay ang suplay at presyo sa inaangkat nating langis,” said Gatchalian.
“PNOC must be empowered to invest in petroleum operation projects, both here and abroad, and should be allowed to retain 50% of its net earnings for local petroleum exploration and development,” he added.
Given the nature of petroleum exploration and development as a capital-intensive industry and its importance in achieving energy security and self-sufficiency, Gatchalian said that the government should jumpstart the development of the sector similar to what other countries have done.
However, he noted that in the case of PNOC, which was created almost 50 years ago in 1973, the company has engaged in various activities far from its original mandate which is to provide an adequate and stable supply of petroleum products to meet the domestic requirement and to promote the exploration and development of local petroleum sources. Instead, the company has organized a total of 8 subsidiaries whose involvement ranges from developing geothermal resources to promoting energy efficiency programs.
Gatchalian said there is a need to merge all subsidiaries and PNOC companies into just 1 PNOC for a more coherent and targeted direction and improved operational efficiency. The mother company is trying to undertake downstream oil projects while the Philippine National Oil Company Exploration Corporation (PNOC EC) has not produced a single drop of oil and gas apart from the Malampaya gas field. The Philippine National Oil Company Renewables Corporation (PNOC RC), meanwhile, has been suffering from financial losses for almost 10 years.
“All of these are with the end goal of achieving energy security and self-sufficiency,” he ended.