Business tycoon Manuel Pangilinan is positive that drilling works in the Recto Bank can proceed by next year following the country’s warmer relations with China.
“I think to the extent that the government has adapted a more friendly, more conciliatory push to China, I think the atmosphere has become better for a resumption of a discussion with China in general. And we’d like to move in that direction,” Pangilinan said.
The Recto Bank is a petroleum exploration area located in the disputed West Philippine Sea.
PXP Energy Corp, chaired by Pangilinan, holds around 60 percent of Service Contract (SC 72) – the exploration contract of Recto Bank. It also has a direct operating interest of 50 percent in SC 75 in northwest Palawan.
Forum Energy plc holds a 70 percent interest operating interest in the said contract.
Earlier, the Department of Energy issued a moratorium on all explorations and drilling works for SC 72 and 75 amid the tension between Philippines and China.
As soon as the two governments agree on lifting the moratorium, Forum Energy can start its work program in SC 72.
“It’s up to them to release the moratorium. If they do then we’ll advice the [prospective] Chinese [partners] that we’re gonna do this. This is our work program approved by our government approved by our government just to let you know,” Pangilinan said.
The lift will allow Forum to determine whether there is gas of commercial quantity in the project so the work project can start summer this year or next year.
“Usually, summer months is the window. We still need one more seismic survey partly to complete the totality of the survey. We want to be able to determine the baseline environment conditions on where we’re supposed to drill and we have to establish the stability of the soil underwater if we were to eventually put an oil rig there,” Pangilinan said.
“From the perspective of supply of gas, it’s better if we have our own supply of gas otherwise we import gas and it’s more expensive. But I think government has taken a cooperative perspective,” Pangilinan said, adding that the work program must be timed when the Malampaya gas supply runs out y 2024.
The Malampaya currently supplies LNG needs worth 2,700 megawatts in the Sta. Rita, San Lorenzo, and Ilijan plants that take up 40 percent of Luzon grid’s requirements.
*Photo from rhk111smilitaryandarmspage.wordpress.com