Russian oil firm needs to re-enter deal with PH gov’t: Palace

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

October 17, 2019, 6:44 pm

<p>Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo</p>

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo

MANILA — Russian oil giant Rosneft Oil Company needs to enter into a new contract with the Duterte government to develop oil and gas resources in the Philippines, Malacañang said on Thursday.

This comes after President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday ordered the resignation of Philippine National Oil Company - Exploration Corporation (PNPC-EC) president and chief executive officer (CEO) Pedro Aquino Jr. due to the alleged unauthorized investment deal with Rosneft.

“Maganda nga 'yung proposal pero hindi nasunod 'yung stages of bidding and vetting (The proposal is good, but the stages of bidding and vetting have not been followed). So they have to re-apply to bid,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

“They have to start from kung anong stage ang dapat na gawin nila. 'Yun ang gagawin nila (They have to start from the first stage. That’s what they need to do),” he added.

The PNOC-EC, Rosneft, and Hong Kong-based firm Pionaire Finance Limited inked a trilateral agreement on the development of multilateral deal at an International Economic Forum held in St. Petersburg, Russia in June 2017.

The deal lays basis for the development of multilateral cooperation on oil and products trading, as well as for joint participation in oil refining projects.

When President Rodrigo Duterte flew to Russia early this month, he discovered that the PNOC-EC had forged a contract with Rosneft sans the knowledge of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Panelo said.

“Hindi siguro purposely pinaalam. Hindi pinaalam kaya nga siguro nagkaroon ng bulilyaso (It was kept secret purposely. It was deliberately done, that’s why the deal did not push through),” he said.

“Hindi alam ni Mr. Cusi. Doon (Russia) nga namin na-diskubre. Kaya nag-courtesy call sila. Pinapaliwanag sa kanila na maganda ang proposal nila but they have to go through the regular bidding process. I-vet pa 'yun kasi nga hindi nasunod (Mr. Cusi doesn’t know that. We discovered that when we were there. We explained that they have a good proposal, but they have to go through the regular bidding process),” he added.

On October 2, Duterte met with Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin in Moscow, Russia and encouraged the latter to invest in the Philippines in the field of oil and gas development.

The President also assured the oil firm that investments are “safe in the Philippines,” as he does not allow corruption in government to thrive under his leadership.

Panelo said Rosneft had already signed a memorandum of intent, signifying its plan of investing in Manila. (PNA)