Senate probe to help unlock oil, gas potential in West Philippines Sea

WPS Exploration Site

Senate Committee on Energy vice chairman Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has filed a resolution looking to establish the oil and gas potential in the West Philippine Sea to help address the country’s dependence on energy requirement imports. 

Gatchalian filed for a senate inquiry to push exploration, development, and utilization of the oil and gas reserves toward achieving energy security and self-sufficiency. 

“Given persistent global energy shocks, it is important for us to ascertain the oil and gas potential in the West Philippine Sea for the country to have some level of stability and protection from the tumultuous geopolitical conflict in foreign countries that has severely impacted local energy prices,” Gatchalian said in a statement over the weekend.

Data from the Department of Energy (DOE) states that there are around 6,203 million barrels of total oil resources and 12,158 billion cubic feet of total gas resources in the West Philippines. 

Five petroleum service contracts are currently active in the West Philippine Sea. These include SC 54 in the Northwest Palawan Basin and SC 58 in West Calamian, both under Nido Petroleum Philippines Ltd.SC 59 in Southwest Palawan, meanwhile, is held by the Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corp. (PNOC-EC).  

Meanwhile, SC 72 is held by Forum (GSEC101) Ltd in Recto Bank, while SC 75 in Northwest Palawan is held by PXP Energy Corp. These two contracts are currently on hold following the orders of the Security, Justice, and Peace Coordinating Cluster (SJPCC). 

“The lack of oil and gas exploration and as a result of the lack of indigenous oil and gas have contributed to the country’s import dependence with 98% of petroleum products imported as of 2021 and lack of energy self-sufficiency,” Gatchalian stressed.