Through Presidential Decree No. 334, the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) was created on November 9, 1973, to provide and maintain an adequate and stable supply of oil. Focusing its efforts and resources in learning the ropes of the petroleum industry, PNOC rose to occupy market leadership in an industry thought to be the domain of multinationals. Its charter was amended to include energy exploration and development.
PNOC was a product of the times. It was the Philippines’ response to the oil crisis that gripped the world in the 1970’s. Before the oil embargo, there was easy and ready access to crude. But sudden upheavals in the global oil industry caught many, including the Philippines, unprepared and, therefore, vulnerable.
The Philippines’ response was quick and strategic. PNOC successfully forged oil-supply partnerships with supplier countries. It later acquired refineries and petroleum transport and marketing firms with the aim of being a “total” energy company. With this thrust at the heart of the company’s operations, it further initiated the exploration of the country’s indigenous oil and non-oil energy resources. Its purpose was to build an energy sector that will bring energy independence to the country. Eventually, PNOC expanded its operations to include total energy development, including indigenous energy sources like oil and gas, coal, and geothermal.
PNOC Exploration Corporation is concentrating on its Oil and Gas businesses, the most popular and successful of which is the Malampaya Deepwater Gas-to-Power Project where, in December 1999, PNOC EC finalized its participation in the largest energy infrastructure undertaking in Philippine history. PNOC EC’s involvement in the project effectively joins it with the rank of such other petroleum majors as Shell Exploration (as Project Operator) and Texaco (Partner).
Developments in the country as well as the global front made it imperative for the company to get more involved in new and renewable and alternative energy activities and projects. In 1993, PNOC also ventured into petrochemicals, setting up the Philippines’ first petrochemical industrial estate in Limay, Bataan.
PNOC continues to serve as the key institution in the exploration, development and utilization of indigenous oil and non-oil energy sources.