The Department of Energy (DOE) has opened the bids submitted by parties interested to explore untapped energy resources in the West Philippine Sea under the Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program (PCECP).

During the opening of bids Monday, DOE said the bidders for the four nominated areas under the PCECP have passed the agency’s requirements.

DOE evaluated the bidders for their work program and technical, financial, and legal qualifications.

Troika Giant Power Corp. submitted a bid for Nominated Area No. 5 or the Mindoro-Cuyo basin, while Manny Pangilinan’s PXP Energy Corporation eyes exploration deal in Nominated Area No. 6 and Dennis Uy’s Udenna Energy Corp. targets Nominated Area Nos. 7 and 8 all in the West Philippine Sea.

DOE launched the PCECP in 2018 to invite stakeholders to invest, explore, develop, and produce Philippine indigenous energy resources.

DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi has been promoting to boost drilling activities in the country as the Philippines lags behind among its Southeast Asian neighbors in terms of oil exploration activities.

Cusi earlier said the Philippines only had five drillings per year for 10 years compared to the annual exploration activities of Vietnam at 24, Myanmar at 29, Thailand at 594, and Indonesia at 900.

Bolstering the oil and gas exploration will help the country to meet its power requirement of 43,765 megawatts by 2040, he said.

The outlook of Fitch Solutions, a provider of credit, debt market, and macro intelligence solutions, for power demand between 2020 and 2029 is at 4.9 percent despite the near-term headwinds due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We expect a surge in the Philippines’ power demand over the coming years, driven by strong macroeconomic and demographic growth, and government’s goal to achieve a 100 percent electrification rate by 2022 under the Total Electrification Program,” it said. (PNA)