SEN. Sherwin T. Gatchalian goaded the Department of Energy (DOE) Thursday to promptly “put in order” the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) and its subsidiaries.
Stressing the need to “set fixed guidance” for the state-owned oil company to “quickly recover from ineffective performance,” the senator reminded that its mandate when PNOC was created in 1973 was primarily to “provide adequate supply of petroleum products to meet domestic requirements as well as promote the exploration and development of local petroleum sources.”
The lawmaker lamented, however, that PNOC and its subsidiaries have the activities in line with their respective mandates. Gatchalian griped that PNOC companies are “stuck in a quagmire.”
For instance, the senator recalled that PNOC-Renewables Corp. (PNOC-RC) incurred a total P380 million in losses since 2013, while PNOC-Exploration Corp. (PNOC-EC) failed to produce oil and gas outside of the Malampaya gas field.
He noted “similarly, PNOC’s targeted fuel relief program (TFRP), intended to aid most vulnerable fuel-consuming sectors during periods of fuel supply disruption or high volatility in prices, has been rendered useless by the Pantawid Pasada Program.
Moreover, Gatchalian pointed out that “the same can be said about PNOC’s strategic petroleum reserve [SPR] which has been put on hold like the TFRP.”
He recalled that the SPR was conceptualized as a strategic oil stockpile to ensure long-term stability and security of oil supply in the country, reminding, “PNOC’s energy supply base [ESB] project, intended to provide world-class energy supply base port facilities, has not been carried out successfully many years after its inception.”
At the same time, Gatchalian asserted the need to boost the mandate of PNOC because it “plays a big role in anchoring our economy if we truly desire to have our own indigenous sources of oil, so we don’t have to rely so much on imported petroleum supply.”
Moreover, the senator stressed “the importance of government presence in oil exploration and development cannot be overemphasized, especially as the country deals with energy-related challenges coming from external forces. It is high time the energy department provides a focused direction for PNOC.”