DOE seeks resumption of WPS Exploration


The Department of Energy (DOE) has asked the Cabinet’s Security, Justice, and Peace Coordinating Cluster (SJPCC) to immediately allow the resumption of oil exploration activities in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Acting presidential spokesman Sec. Martin Andanar said in a briefing on Monday that the DOE sought for reconsideration on grounds that a geophysical survey is a perfectly legitimate activity, even in disputed areas, based on international law.

China has had several intrusions in the WPS, specifically those areas covered by the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The EEZ includes the Service Contract (SC) 72 and 75 exploration blocks, wherein PXP Energy Corporation has controlling interest.

Two weeks ago, the DOE directed PXP Energy to put on hold its exploration activities in the areas covered by SCs 72 and 75 “until such time that SJPCC has issued the necessary clearance to proceed.”

Andanar said the department is waiting for the SJPCC’s decision on its appeal.

In February, PXP Energy said that they would be drilling two appraisal wells under SC72, which is located in the Recto Bank and is said to be rich in oil and natural gas. SC75, meanwhile, is located off the western coast of Palawan.

The government lifted the WPS exploration moratorium in October 2020.