As part of a region that is both rich in natural resources and rapidly growing economies, the Philippines energy sector has learnt a few lessons in recent years. The foremost and the hardest of these lessons seem to have been that the energy industry needs capital to compete. The exploration, production, distribution as well as management of energy resources in the Philippines as anywhere else is an increasingly expensive business.
Through a detailed set of national energy goals, the Philippines is pursuing some prudent policies ranging from a realistic degree of self sufficiency in an attempt to shield the country from shocks while at the same time remaining connected to today’s energy dependent world.
Hydrocarbons exploration and extraction in the Philippines dates to the independence period with the first oil well being drilled in Cebu by Smith, Bell and Company in 1898. The countries major asset to date, the Malampaya field was discovered in 1990 by Shell and remains the country’s most important domestic source of natural gas.
It was not until 1989, that large hydrocarbons deposits were discovered in the Palawan offshore area by Occidental and at West Linapacan a year later by Alcorn Philippines. The production of dry natural gas has rocketed from zero in 2000 to approximately 3trn cubic feet (cu ft) per day in 2006. An estimated 95% of the Philippines natural gas comes from the Malampaya deep water gas to power project.