PNOC Exploration Corporation, the upstream oil and exploration arm of the government-owned Philippine National Oil Company, is keen on resuming industrial-volume coal trading operations in the next calendar year to bolster company revenues as well as increase its remittances to the national coffers. “There is no reason for us not to pursue coal trading because one, it is a profitable venture, and two, PNOC EC needs the money to fund its projects,” said PNOC EC Chair Mel Lopez.
Lopez said the company is still finalizing the guidelines that would govern future coal transactions to ensure that all such transactions would be “above board and conducted in the most transparent manner.” Lopez is a staunch supporter of the Daan Matuwid program of governance of President Benigno Aquino III, and advocates the same as Chair of the PNOC EC. PNOC EC suspended coal transactions a little over a year ago but is indeed looking to resume the same next year.
Related government disclosures made earlier this year states that PNOC EC has an existing P5.21 Billion credit line facility with NBP Paribas, P2 Billion with the Philippine National Bank, P1.85 Billion with the Land Bank of the Philippines, a government-owned bank, P1.82 Billion with Standard Chartered, and P1.62 Billion with Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation. PNOC EC previously secured funding from other banking institutions such as the government-owned Development Bank of the Philippines, Bank of the Philippine Islands and United Coconut Planters Bank. PNOC EC is expected to invest some P20 Billion from now up to 2016 for the “further exploration, exploitation, development and marketing of oil, gas and coal deposits” in the country according to a separate and previous company statement.
Other plans of the company in the immediate future include the construction of at least two coal-fired power plants in Zamboanga Sibugay and in Isabela provinces, development of at least two new expansion phases in the Malampaya area off Palawan with partners Shell and Chevron, and the full takeover of compressed natural gas (CNG) facilities in Laguna previously owned and operated by Shell. The CNG operations are in line with the government’s program to use alternative fuels for public transport.