PXP Energy eyes replacing Malampaya gas, asks DOE to lift exploration moratorium

Malampaya gas supply can last until 2029, but…

PXP Energy Corporation, through its subsidy Forum Energy Ltd., is requesting the Department of Energy (DOE) to lift the moratorium on exploration ventures along disputed petroleum blocks as the company awaits the approval of its request to the government to enter a petroleum exploration.

In a report by Manila Bulletin, PXP Energy of the Pangilinan group indicated that this area could secure the country’s future to replace the Malampaya gas field.

“This would be a new source of gas as replacement for Malampaya, which is expected to start a decline in production by 2022,” the company said in the report.

The petroleum block, which is under Service Contract 72 of corporate vehicle Forum Energy Ltd., is required to drill two appraisal wells at the Sampaguita gas discovery in the next phase of its work program.

The project could cost up to US $80 million, with work programs including drilling and extended seismic surveys.

In the same Manila Bulletin report, PXP Energy President Daniel Stephen P. Carlos noted in his correspondence with the DOE that the development of SC 72 must commence no later than 2027 to ensure it will be “an effective replacement for the Malampaya gas.”

He added it will take at least 6 years from start of development of SC 72 to first gas, making it an urgent matter that “puts in sharp focus the need to lift the force majeure in the SC 72 area to allow Forum and Monte Oro to undertake exploration works in the area in accordance with the work program.”

The targeted production field could run up to 2.5 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas, according to the company.

The company also noted that they shall likewise be undertaking 3D seismic surveys for the North Bank prospect, which is located 60 kilometers north of Sampaguita.

“Prior to drilling, Forum will also have to conduct geotechnical surveys over the proposed Sampaguita well locations to identify potential hazards and constraints on the seafloor where the offshore drilling rig will be located,” the company said.

“Forum and its third party contractors would need assurances from the Philippine government that any offshore exploration in the SC 72 area could be conducted without interference from domestic or foreign sources.”

If PXP Energy finally resumes its exploration work program, it is likely to pursue the venture with China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), and Davao businessman Dennis Uy’s Dennison Holdings.

Initial exploration activities by the company in 2011 were temporarily suspended when two Chinese patrol vessels entered into the survey area and ordered Forum’s contracted seismic vessel to leave.

The vessel was conducting a 3D seismic acquisition survey in 2011.

Forum Energy is the petroleum block’s operator. Forum Energy, in which PXP Energy holds a direct and indirect interest of 78.98 percent, has a 70 percent participating interest in Service Contract 72 located in Northwest Palawan.

PXP Energy has a total economic interest of 53.1 percent in SC 72.