Philex, Philodrill to bid for new oil, gas blocks
Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan said his group Philex Mining Corp. units, oil and gas units Philex Petroleum Corp. and Pitkin Petroleum Plc of UK have formed a consortium with local exploration company Philodrill Corp. to bid for Areas 4 and 5 under the government's Fourth Philippine Energy Contracting Round (PECR4)

ENERGY BLOCKS. Areas for offer under the Fourth Philippine Energy Contracting Round. Photo courtesy of Department of Energy.

MANILA, Philippines – Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan said his group, through Philex Mining Corp. units, is joining a consortium that will bid for two of the 3 oil and gas blocks near Palawan province that the Department of Energy (DOE) is auctioning off.

On Monday, July 30, Pangilinan confirmed to reporters that Philex’s oil and gas units Philex Petroleum Corp. and Pitkin Petroleum Plc of UK have formed a consortium with local exploration company Philodrill Corp. to bid for Areas 4 and 5 under the government’s Fourth Philippine Energy Contracting Round (PECR4).

“We will bid for Areas 4 and 5, as the Philex Petroleum board has approved the partnership with Philodrill and Pitkin,” he said. Pitkin has exploration activities in Peru and Vietnam.

Pangilinan said they will not bid for Area 3 in Northwest Palawan.

“Our initial impression is that it has been surveyed quite a bit already and has so far produced negative results, and I think Areas 4 and 5 have better prospects, though that we really don’t know yet,” he said.

Near Area 4 are the Sampaguita fields in Recto Bank where Philex Petroleum has an ongoing exploration activities, as well as the Malampaya project, which is already the largest gas project in the country, producing indigenous energy sources for power plants that generate electricity for the Luzon grid.

The Philippine government previously granted Service Contract 72 (SC 72) to Philex unit Forum Energy Corp to explore the Recto Bank, which is located near the disputed Spratlys Island in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).

Chinese vessels have previously made their presence felt at the Recto Bank exploration site, prompting Pangilinan to announce before that they will bid only for energy blocks that are not in disputed areas


Pangilinan’s confirmation that it will bid for the two energy blocks comes a day before the DOE is set to start the bidding process for Areas 3, 4, and 5.

“It’s a go, so far,” Energy Undersecretary Jose Layug Jr. earlier told reporters when asked if the bidding of the 3 service contracting areas is pushing through by July 31.

Layug had said that at least 2 groups have already indicated interest in submitting bids for the 3 blocks.

“We’re very hopeful, as this is part of our efforts to find oil and gas in the Philippines. And we have received indications that at least two parties will submit bids,” he said.

Layug said these areas are in deep water and require a consortium or consortia to submit bids. “You need to have a lot of investments in these area and a very good work program…These areas will require a lot of seismic acquisitions, drilling wells as well as a huge capital investment,” he said.

Layug added that they have yet to receive any indication whether Chinese exploration companies will join in the bidding or partner with any of the two consortia.

“To date, the parties have not disclosed themselves to us except that we have only received their indications. It will be good if there will be more bidders, since of all these blocks are the most prospective ones,” he said.

15 blocks

These 3 blocks are part of the 15 the government is bidding out under the PECR4. The DOE has offered 3 onshore and 12 offshore blocks with a total area of more than 10 million hectares located in Northwest Palawan, East Palawan, and Sulu Sea basins.

The others have already been bidded out in April.

About 38 companies previously pre-qualified to join the bidding for the PECR4 blocks.

DOE expects to generate investments of around $500 million for each area or a total of $7.5 billion.

The areas offered are:

  1. Area 1 (544,000 hectares) in Cagayan
  2. Area 2 (676,000) in Central Luzon
  3. Area 3 (600,000) in Northwest Palawan
  4. Area 4 (616,000) Northwest Palawan
  5. Area 5 (424,000) Northwest Palawan
  6. Area 6 (840,000) in Mindoro Cuyo
  7. Area 7 (844,000) in Mindoro Cuyo
  8. Area 8 (840,000) in East Palawan
  9. Area 9 (840,000) in East Palawan
  10. Area 10 (640,000) in East Palawan
  11. Area 11 (600,000) in Cotabato
  12. Area 12 (456,000) in Cotabato
  13. Area 13 (648,000) in East Palawan
  14. Area 14 (983,900) in East Palawan 
  15. Area 15 (482,000) in Sulu Sea