Market Profile

Why Philippines?


Doing Business in Philippines

  • The Philippines is one of the most dynamic economies in the East Asia Pacific region. With increasing urbanization, a growing middle class, and a large and young population, the Philippines’ economic dynamism is rooted in strong consumer demand supported by a vibrant labor market and robust remittances
  • The Philippines is considered an emerging market economy. It has the 13th largest population and the 28th  largest economy in the world, making it a popular destination for international investors.

Impact of COVID-19

  • Before the COVID-19 crisis, the Philippine economy was one of the world’s best performers, with an average growth rate of 6.6% from 2012 to 2019. Amidst the economic recession, the Philippines’ GDP per capita fell to $3,430 in 2020 from $3,850 in 2019 – delaying the government’s target to attain upper middle-income status. 
  • The Philippines economy suffered a deep recession in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with GDP contracting by 9.6% year-on-year. This was the largest annual decline ever recorded since National Accounts data series for the Philippines commenced in 1946.
  • The demand collapse in the Philippines was estimated to be more than 30% in April 2020. Lack of physical demand for crude oil saw prices to collapse quickly.
  • LNG prices which were already under pressure from weak fundamental have also fallen further as working from home has caused a sharp decline in the Philippines electricity usage.

Main Industries in Philippines

Top 5 Main Export Partners

Top 5 Main Import Products in Philipines

  • Due to expected low fuel supply sources when the Malampaya natural gas fields will  be depleted in 2024, Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program (PCECP) was created to encourage offshore exploration, interest has been low due to concerns over contract sanctity, and the nation lags ASEAN neighbors in terms of exploration.
  • LNG has attracted great interest despite ambiguous policies and high initial investment requirements. However, lack of incentives for LNG use further discourages foreign investment and participation.
  • Foreign companies will likely experience challenges in the following areas:
    • Political instability
    • Poor quality of its infrastructure  
    • Legal uncertainty and a lack of transparency of procedures
  • The Philippine Department of Energy (DOE) has outlined an overly ambitious two-fold  agenda of attaining energy security and implementing power market reforms. 
  • By 2040, the Philippine oil and gas sector intends to increase reserves and production of local oil, gas and coal, improve downstream oil industry policies for the continuous supply of high quality and quantity petroleum products, and establish an investment-driven natural gas industry in the Philippines. 
  • The Philippines offers an open economy which allows 100% foreign ownership in almost all sectors and supports a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) investment scheme. 
  • Incentive packages include reduced corporate income tax rates and even tax exemptions and tax- and duty-free importation of specific equipment and materials.
  • Legislation liberalising business practices has opened up more areas for investment, granting foreign investors the same incentives as other ASEAN members while simplifying procedures. 
  • Agents and distributors are commonly used in the Philippines and are essential for most foreign companies. 
  • Companies are advisable to visit their agents and distributors to strengthen relationships and assess the local companies’ abilities. 
  • Best strategy to enter the market:
    • Joint venture with domestic/foreign investors.
    • Petroleum Service Contract (PSC)

  • The Philippines has least oil and gas reserves among other Southeast Asia by only 0.66% and was ranked 53rd by reserves of natural gas and 82nd by reserves of crude oil in the world as of 2020
  • Philippines reserves of natural gas was at level of 3.48 trillion cubic feet in 2020, unchanged from the previous year while it’s crude oil reserves fell gradually from 1.91 thousand barrel per day in 2020 to 1.86 thousand barrel per day in April 2021
  • Nearly 90% of the total recoverable resources of the Philippines are undiscovered, of which 35% were mapped and 65% are still unmapped.
  • Philippines’s crude oil imports were reported at 134.33 barrels per day in 2019 and it has been decreasing from the previous year, which 229.83 barrels per day in 2018




Department of Energy

  • Implement consumer-based and investor-friendly policies driven by incentives, investments and innovation to achieve energy security and sustainability
  • Encourage more private sector participation in the upstream petroleum industry through Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program (PCECP) 

Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry

  • Provide access to trade and industry associations
  • Represents the business sector in several government bodies tasked to implement various policy and support program.
  • ​ Provide access to business opportunities as PCCI regularly receives trade, business and research inquiries from all over the world. Most of these inquiries come from companies which are either looking for suppliers and buyers or business tie-ups.

Philippines Board of Investment

  • The BOI is your one-stop shop in doing business in the Philippines 
  • An attached agency of Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)
  • The lead government agency responsible for the promotion of investments in the Philippines
  • Assists Filipino and foreign investors to venture and prosper in desirable areas of economic activities


Philippine National Oil Company Exploration Corporation (PNOC-EC)

Operator or partner in eight petroleum service contracts covering the largest exploration in the Philippine oil and gas sector

Malampaya Energy XP Pte Ltd

Holds a 45% share and operatorship of Service Contract 38 (SC38) including Malampaya gas field off Northwest Palawan Island

China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC)

Holds 51% interest in Service Contract (SC) 57 in offshore Palawan Island

Other operators:

  • PXP Energy Corporation
  • Nido Petroleum Philippines Pty. Ltd.

OGSE Companies

ACE Exenor Inc

Has interests in 5 Service Contracts (SC) which include SC 6 Block B, SC 6 Block A, SC 51 East Visayas, SC 55 West Palawan and SC 69 Camotes Sea.

Gas2Grid Limited (G2G)

Holds 100% interest in Service Contract (SC) 44, located onshore Cebu in the Philippines

Forum Pacific Inc

Operated service contracts in Manila Bay and in Central Visayas and has drilled six on-shore wells in Northern Cebu

PXP Energy Corporation

Holds 50% operating interest in Service Contract (SC) 75 in the Northwest Palawan

The Philodrill Corporation

One of the pioneers in the Philippine oil exploration industry. Actively participated in exploration, development and production operations of all the Northwest Palawan oilfields



Sapura Energy Bhd

Provides offshore installation and field joint services for pipeline project

UZMA Berhad

Provides subsurface solutions, integrated well solutions, production solutions and late life asset. Entered the geothermal service market in Philippines in 2017. 

Dialog Group Berhad

Leading integrated technical services provider to the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors in the oil, gas and petrochemical industry

Muhibbah Engineering Berhad

Leader in Marine Construction also stands firm in the various discipline of Engineering Construction, both locally and internationally


Embassy of Malaysia
Trade Office (MATRADE)
Level 4, Canseri Building,
107, Tordesillas Street,
Salcedo Village, Makati City,

Name: Ms. Siti Azlina Mohd Ali Hanafiah
Email: manila@matrade.gov.my
Tel: +632 8662 8270
Web: www.matrade.gov.my