PNOC, Chinese firm to invest P1.1B on oil, gas exploration project in Calamian Island
- Rocel Felix () - September 8, 2005 - 12:00am
The Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) and its joint venture partner China National Offshore Oil Co. (CNOOC) will invest P1.1 billion ($20 million) over the next three years to undertake oil and gas exploration works in offshore Calamian Island in northwest Palawan.

"We feel very optimistic of finding new fields in the block," said PNOC president Eduardo Mañalac, adding that the Department of Energy is set to award a service contract to the consortium this week.

He said PNOC is also negotiating with CNOOC for the farm-in agreements to explore in Calamian, an area adjacent to the Malampaya gas field.

The service contract is an offshoot of an earlier agreement between PNOC and CNOOC last April for "upstream opportunities in the Calamian area."

The agreement, signed by Mañalac and CNOOC general manager Fu Chengyu, was forged during the recent state visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao.

PNOC has an existing tripartite agreement with CNOOC and Vietnam Oil and Gas Corp. (PetroVietnam) for a joint marine seismic undertaking in the South China Sea. The agreement also involves a joint oil exploration venture in the disputed Spratly Island.

Reputedly rich in oil reserves, Spratlys lies south of Palawan. Aside from the Philippines, other countries jostling for outlying islands in the area include China, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan.

The joint project will acquire geoscientific data to assess the petroleum resource potential of an agreed area in the South China Sea covering 142,886 square kilometers.

Under the agreement, PNOC, CNOCC and PetroVietnam will share the $7.14-million project cost and facilitate the conduct of the geophysical survey for data gathering and processing.

The PNOC executive said the Chinese seismic vessel Nanhai is scheduled to conduct the seismic study starting this month to October.

The seismic data will then be processed in Vietnam and analyzed by experts in the Philippines.

Earlier, President Arroyo said that government’s decision to participate in the tripartite agreement does not amount to renouncing its territorial claim to the disputed Spratly group of islands.

The President described the Philippine-China-Vietnam accord as a "diplomatic breakthrough for peace and security" in the region.

CALAMIAN CALAMIAN ISLAND CHINA NATIONAL OFFSHORE OIL CO CHINESE PRESIDENT HU JINTAO DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY EDUARDO MA FU CHENGYU MALAYSIA AND TAIWAN PALAWAN PHILIPPINE NATIONAL OIL CO SOUTH CHINA SEA
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