The chairman of the Senate Energy Committee on Tuesday pushed for a measure proposing to restructure the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) into a pure oil and gas exploration firm.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian made the statement following the firing of PNOC Exploration Corporation (PNOC-EC) president and chief executive officer (CEO) Pedro Aquino for approving an oil deal with a Russian firm without permission from the board or Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
Gatchalian said the incident highlighted the need for a clear policy direction for the entire PNOC.
“We could have prevented this situation if we had a more focused PNOC. Unfortunately, the PNOC is spreading itself too thin by doing different things when its focus should be on oil and gas exploration,” Gatchalian said.
The senator noted that PNOC-EC was supposed to be tasked with exploration but the recent deal showed its intent to go into petroleum trading, while the PNOC mother company wanted to go into liquefied rooftops.
“We plan to remedy this situation by championing in this Congress a measure that will restructure PNOC by abolishing its existing subsidiaries and directing its focus away from non-exploration activities,” Gatchalian said.
“The bottom line here is that we will refocus the PNOC to purely upstream oil and gas so that it will contribute to securing the country’s energy needs,” he added. (PNA)