Duterte signs deal with Israeli firm on joint oil exploration off Palawan
The Philippines and Israel held a ceremonial signing for a joint oil exploration off Palawan.
Reading the statement of the Department of Energy, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said on Thursday President Rodrigo Duterte inked the Petroleum Service Contract (PSC) for Area 4 in East Palawan Basin of the Fifth Philippine Energy Contracting Round (PECR 5) held in Malacanang on Wednesday.
Itay Raphael Tabibzada, company president and CEO, signed for Israeli firm, Ratio Petroleum Ltd.
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi witnessed the signing ceremony.
Asked why it was Duterte who forged the deal, Panelo said, "Per Al Cusi, the law requires the signature of the President in the kind of exploration contract."
With the deal, the DOE, in a statement issued on Wednesday, said that Ratio Petroleum will now be able to explore Area 4, covering 416,000 hectares across the East Palawan Basin for potential oil and gas resources.
Projected minimum total expenditure is valued at US$34,350,000 to be derived from studies, data gathering and drilling activities over the initial seven-year contract duration.
Established in 1992, Ratio Petroleum has a number of large-scale operations at the Levant Basin in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Israel, as well as off-shore operations in the Republic of Malta and the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.
Cusi said the oil exploration agreement was the first petroleum service contract signed under the Duterte administration.
Panelo assured that the new deal would not violate the Constitution.
But he is not discounting the possibility that there could be other people who might question its constitutionality.
"We feel that the Constitution does not prohibit this particular kind of agreement. Of course, there will be others who would be questioning that again in the Supreme Court," said Panelo, who is also the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel. Celerina Monte/DMS