Work to resume on Alegria oil field

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | March 20,2022 - 06:45 PM
Alegria Oil Field in Brgy. Montpeller, Alegria, Cebu

President Rodrigo Duterte leads the ceremonial opening of the oil and gas production of the Alegria Oil field Polyard-3 Well in Barangay Montpeller, Alegria, Cebu, in this May 19, 2018. (file photo) (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Work on the oil field in Alegria town, southwestern Cebu is set to resume this year, two years since COVID-19 interrupted major economic activities around the world. 

Mayor Verna Magallon announced that proponents of the Alegria Oil Field in Barangay Montpeller were expected to start selling refined petroleum sourced from their town to interested buyers worldwide. In turn, they will be putting up a refinery station within the site soon. 

“Mubalik na dayun dire ang company nga nagdrilling dinhe sa Barangay Montpeller kay gusto nila nga makapahimutang na dayun ug refinery para sa oil, and ilahang ipadayun og puno og production well,” Magallon said in a speech during the ceremonial reopening of Alegria’s canyoneering activities on March 15. 

(The company will come back her to drill in Barangay Montpeller because they wanted to put in place the refinery of oil, and they plan to continue to add a production well.)

Hong Kong-based Polyard Petroleum International Group Limited, through its subsidiary China International Mining Petroleum Co. Ltd. (CIMP), is currently undertaking oil exploration and drilling in Alegria Oil Field. 

CIMP commenced exploration in the 1,970 square-kilometer onshore field in 2018. It was completed nearly two years later.

In 2020, shortly before the COVID-19 became a pandemic, they announced that they would be proceeding with drilling at least six production wells.

However, in a follow-up interview with reporters, Magallon confirmed that much of the work in the Alegria Oil Field had been temporarily halted due to pandemic-driven lockdowns. 

During the height of the pandemic, only a few buyers purchased crude oil sourced from Alegria’s oil field, Magallon added. 

“Naa nay buyers even if wala pay refinery but mas daghan og buyers nga nihuwat nga isud ang oil sa refinery,” she pointed out. 

(There are buyers even if there is no refinery yet, but more buyers were waiting that the oil will be placed inside the refinery.)

In the meantime, local officials in Alegria are also looking forward to meeting with authorities from the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Cebu Provincial government to discuss the sharing scheme in Alegria’s Oil Field.

Magallon said aside from having a full-scale refinery station, revising the current sharing scheme among the national government, Capitol, local government and the barangay would help Alegria earn more.

The mayor admitted that since the exploration began nearly two years ago, the municipality’s accumulated income has yet to reach P1 million. 

“Naay income gamay… Before nag COVID-19, si Gov. Gwen (Garcia) nagpatawag og meeting, two times, sa DOE (Department of Energy), ug Chinese firm nga maoy nag drilling tungod kay naay dapat iimprove and i-correct sa sharing,” Magallon said. 

(There is an income but it is very small … before COVID-19, Gov. Gwen [Garcia] called for a meeting, two times at the DOE (Department of Energy), and the Chinese firm that did the drilling because there is something to correct and we needed to correct the sharing.)

Under Presidential Decree 87 or the Oil Exploration and Development Act of 1971, the Philippine government will get a 60 percent share from the net sales of the project. The CIMP will get a 40 percent share.

The 60 percent share of the government will be further divided as follows: 60 percent will go to the national government, 18 percent to the Alegria municipal government, 14 percent to the host Barangay Montpeller, and 8 percent to the Cebu provincial government.

In 2019, Garcia raised the possibility of modifying the sharing scheme in the proceeds of fuel products sourced from Alegria’s oil field. 

The governor pointed out that the law does not include oil and gas proceeds in the items where the percentage share is applicable.

Alegria is a fourth-class municipality located approximately 115 kilometers southwest of Cebu City.  

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