Australia Philippines Business Council Hosts Energy Showcase in Perth, Featuring DOE and Pioneering BARMM Visit

Australia Philippines Business Council Hosts Energy Showcase in Perth, Featuring DOE and Pioneering BARMM Visit

On 21 May the Australia Philippines Business Council held their latest event, the Australia Philippine Energy Showcase at the Duxton Hotel in Perth. The event was led by President Rafael Toda, Vice President of Western Australia Jenny Ryall and Director Marvin Chan hosted esteemed guests and industry leaders including key speakers from the Philippine Department of Energy (DOE) and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). The evening was filled with insight, opportunities, fostered discussions and exploration of collaborations. The pioneering visit of BARMM in Perth also built on the successes of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s two visits to Canberra in February and  Melbourne in March of this year. 

Keynote speaker from DOE Undersecretary Alessandro O. Sales, as well as BARMM Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy (MENRE) Minister Akhmad Brahmin shared valuable insights on the Philippines’ energy landscape, highlighting promising prospects in Mindanao.  Representatives from the Philippine Embassy in Canberra and Australian authorities also offered an update on the latest progress in bilateral relations between Australia and the Philippines including Third Secretary and Vice Consul Angela Laurente who read remarks from H.E. Ma. Hellen B. De La Vega Ambassador of the Philippines to Australia. 

Ambassador De La Vega’s remarks stated Australia being the 13th largest trading partner of the Philippines with over USD 4.1 billion in total trade and USD 18.3 million in approved investments in 2023. With both nation’s elevated status now being Strategic Partners, there is more that can be done to enhance trade and investment. Ambassador De La Vega’s remarks continued to emphasise that energy and energy security are the lifeblood of powering industries, which drive modern, growing economies. In addition, the pursuit of a sustainable future, the transition to renewable energy sources has emerged as an imperative. 

Austrade State Director for Western Australia Jane Caforio, and Western Australia Deputy State Director of Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) Kelly Tranter, emphasised the significance of bilateral cooperation between Australia and the Philippines. Highlighting that the Australia-Philippines relationship is a longstanding friendship built on mutual trust and cooperation and deep people-to-people links. (With Australia continuing) Australia continues to increase trade and investment with the Philippines through the Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040. )With the strategy providing) The strategy provides a practical roadmap to increase Australia’s two-way trade and investment with Southeast Asia, and seeks to ensure the two nations are jointly positioned to maximise the potential of our economic ties. In September 2023, Prime Minister Albanese announced a new five-year peacebuilding program in the BARMM. This program will make a meaningful contribution to improving the security and stability of the region, and the lives of its residents.

The Energy Showcase event also complimented the Philippines-Australia Friendship Day (22 May) annual celebration which marked the enduring friendship between the two countries. This Year, the Australian Embassy in Manila headed to Baguio City for the celebration. 

In February 2024, DOE launched the 2024 Philippine Bid Round, a government-led process inviting oil and gas companies to participate in competitive bidding for the right to explore and develop within the Philippines. DOE also launched the 1st Conventional Energy Bid Round with BARMM which highlighted opportunities in areas like the Sulu Sea Basin and Cotabato Basin, known for their promising gas and oil discoveries. 

Undersecretary Sales focused on key energy development opportunities in the Philippines which included; Unlocking Petroleum Data Access: An initiative to offer free access to critical petroleum data aiming to attract companies in the exploration of oil and gas, Pioneering Native Hydrogen Exploration: Native hydrogen exploration, for companies interested in pioneering hydrogen as an innovative energy source, Facilitating Development and Production Petroleum Service Contracts: Streamlined procedures for awarding development and production petroleum service contracts, Incentivising Investment: Currently drafting Department Circular on special allowances aiming to attract investment and stimulate further exploration and development. 

The latest Philippine Petroleum Service Contracts were also highlighted, where contracts were showcased across regions such as Northwest Palawan, Cagayan, Visayan, and East Palawan presenting extensive opportunities for petroleum reserves development, managed by renowned companies like PNOC Exploration Corporation, The Philodrill Corporation, and Nido Petroleum. This collaborative effort between the DOE, MENRE, and industry stakeholders signals a promising trajectory for energy development in the Philippines.

The showcase seamlessly complemented the Australian Energy Producers Conference at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre. By facilitating focused discussions on the Philippines-Australia energy relationship, the APBC event augmented the broader discourse and networking opportunities at the conference.

The APBC would like to thank our event sponsor and partners who made this event a success: Department of Energy (DOE), Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT), The Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), Philippine Embassy in Canberra, PTE Industries, Perth Multi Electrics, G&S Industries, S&P Global and Clicks by Nicks.

We would like to thank the APBC members and guests who continue to support our initiatives to forward bilateral trade between Australia and the Philippines.

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