The Department of Energy (DOE) said that it’s not enthusiastic on a joint oil exploration with other countries in areas of the West Philippine Sea.
In a radio interview, Secretary Alfonso Cusi said that he prefers the resumption of the service contracts of oil explorations affected by the dispute in the West Philippine Sea.
“I’m personally hoping not for the joint exploration but I’m hoping that the suspended exploration service contracts that we have already awarded, and those contracts under moratorium … (will) push through… before anything else. That’s where we should start,” Cusi said.
In July, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled a maritime case filed by the country versus China on the West Philippine Sea favoring the Philippines.
However, the department kept all contracts in the disputed area on hold because of the dispute.
Among the service contracts in the West Philippine Sea is Service Contract 72 that explores the Recto Bank.
Under the tribunal ruling, the Recto Bank falls within the Exclusive Economic Zone of the country, as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The Recto Bank – an 8,800 sq. kilometer area in the west of Palawan – is estimated to contain 16.6 trillion cubic feet of gas and 416 barrels of oil.
Earlier, PXP Energy Corp chairman Manuel Pangilinan said that President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to China stirs hope for explorations in the West Philippine Sea.
PXP Energy has 70 percent operating interest in SC 72.
The country is currently looking for other sources of natural gas in the preparation of the depletion of the Malampaya gas field in 2024.