MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino said on Monday 140 companies are interested in the government's energy contracting round, in which 15 oil and gas exploration contracts are to be offered to investors.
"Muling nabuhay ang kumpiyansa ng mga namumuhunan sa ating energy sector. Sa huling energy contracting round noong 2006, tatlumpu't lima (35) lamang po ang nakilahok," he noted.
The Philippines expects to award early next year contracts for oil and gas exploration requiring total investment of at least $7.5 billion as it aims to lessen its dependence on imported fuel.
Aquino also said the Philippines, the world's largest rice buyers in recent years, would not import rice if deemed unnecessary, adding it does not want to rely on rice imports for its supply. - With a report from Reuters