Manny V. Pangilinan-led PXP Energy is ready to resume oil exploration and drill exploratory wells in the Service Contact (SC) 72 block in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) next year even without a partner.
This comes as Pangilinan said there have been no updates on the Philippine government’s talks with Chinese government-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC). The tycoon added that PXP Energy is not in any way privy to the details of the discussion.
While Pangilinan himself recognizes the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China over the waters said to be rich in oil and gas, he said it remains to be seen if the latter would agree to do work in the area.
PXP Energy through London-listed subsidiary Forum Energy has a 78.98% operating interest in SC72, particularly located in the Recto Bank. It was supposed to partner with CNOOC until the government imposed an exploration moratorium in the WPS, which was eventually lifted. Since then, the firm said it would take its cue from the government.
The DOE recently said that it will observe the 60-40 rule for joint exploration ventures with China in the WPS. Under the Constitution, foreign ownership of land and businesses is only limited to 40%, while 60% should be owned exclusively by Filipino citizens and corporations.