Duterte signs first oil exploration deal

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DAVAO CITY (October 19) —President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has signed the first-ever petroleum service contract under his administration, which would pave the way for the conduct of more oil exploration activities in the country.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo in a Palace press briefing  Thursday confirmed that the President attended on Wednesday the Ceremonial Signing of the Petroleum Service Contract (PSC) for Area 4 (East Palawan Basin) of the Fifth Philippine Energy Contracting Round (PECR5).

The said agreement is between the Philippine government and Israeli firm, Ratio Petroleum Ltd. President Duterte signed the deal alongside Ratio Petroleum’s company President and CEO, Raphael Tabibzada, Panelo cited.

Reiterating the Energy Department’s recent statement, the Palace official said the event would foster better economic relations between the Philippines and Israel.

Furthermore, Panelo stressed the need for the Philippines to attain energy security and sustainability “at the soonest possible time.”

“Ang nagiging problema natin kasi, wala naman tayong oil kaya hirap na hirap tayo if we are compared to other countries na mayroon,” he said.

“We’ve been dependent on oil-producing countries for our oil, so we need to boost the exploration and development of our own energy resources,” he added.

The new agreement would allow Ratio Petroleum ltd. to explore an area of 416,000 hectares across the East Palawan Basin for potential oil and gas resources, with a projected minimum expenditure of US$34,350,000, Panelo cited.

“This will of course be derived from studies, data gathering and drilling activities over an initial seven-year contract duration,” he further added.

“So hopefully, magkakaroon tayo ng oil… and it will definitely help our country,” Panelo further noted.

‘Palace to Senate aspirants: cooperate with gov’t in providing services’

During the same press briefing, Malacañang said the Duterte administration’s senatorial slate for next year’s election is now being finalized.

Secretary Panelo said it would be composed of members of the President’s political party, PDP-Laban, and those backed by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago.

The President’s spokesperson expressed confidence in the ability of the administration’s candidates to successfully secure elective posts.

“Given the popularity of the President, the chances of this, since they are candidates of the administration, certainly are very good,” Panelo said.

He said, however, that whoever gets elected is expected to cooperate anyway with the Duterte government, especially when it comes to providing services that are beneficial to all Filipinos.

“Our feeling is that whoever is elected, the message of the electorate could be, ‘we trust this administration’,” Panelo stressed.

“Therefore, those who have been elected will have to cooperate with the administration in terms of services that will be beneficial to the electorate and the rest of the nation,” he added.

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