DOE plans to drill 5 oil wells in WPS – Manila bulletin
The Department of Energy (DOE) plans to drill at least five oil wells in the Western Philippine Sea (WPS) following the government’s lifting of the moratorium on exploration in the disputed territory.
The ministry said it expects one well to be drilled each under Service Contracts (SC) 54 and 58 in northwest Palawan; two wells at SC 59 in the southwestern Palawan basin; and a well for SC 72 on Recto Bank, which also straddles the northwestern Palawan basin.
The other oil and gas block of WPS under SC 75 proposed to acquire, process and interpret 1000 square kilometers of 3D seismic data or 2000 line-kilometers of 2D seismic data.
These exploration activities on the specified oil blocks will generate investments worth $ 24.6 million (or approximately 1.325 billion pesos at the current exchange rate between the Philippine peso and the US dollar), according to the data provided. by the DOE.
However, these targeted exploration activities are currently blocked in the preparation and planning phases given the safety concerns raised by service contract holders; while the others asked for a declaration of force majeure on their work programs.
For SC 58, in particular, the operator Nido Petroleum was granted one year of force majeure on its work program, on the basis of an approval granted by the Department of Energy around March of this year. year.
At SC 54, Nido Petroleum also filed a force majeure declaration request which is still awaiting approval by the DOE; while the state-run Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corporation (PNOC-EC) is currently requesting that its work program at SC 59 be placed under force majeure status.
Blocks SC 72 and SC 75 under Forum Energy and PXP Energy of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan have declared themselves ready to resume their extensive prospecting and seismic exploration activities, but so far they are still in dialogue with the DOE on ensuring the safety and security of their offshore operations given the persistence of territorial disputes at WPS.
Despite the oil and gas drilling companies hanging on to the WPS, the DOE insisted that “these activities are concrete and explicit forms of the application of sovereign rights consistent with our real gains in the China Sea arbitration award. southern “.
And since there had not been a single oil well drilled under the Duterte administration, the Department of Energy argued that “in the oil and gas industry, exploration activities include study and investigation. in-depth understanding of the geological and geophysical characteristics of the region, as well as the conduct of on-site survey and drilling activities.
The DOE added “due to the large investment involved in carrying out exploration programs, on-site exploration activities are carefully planned to ensure maximum coverage of data collection in the study area.”
With the persistent delays in exploration activities, the ministry noted that it “constantly monitors the progress of each project and ensures that service contractors’ commitments are met.”
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