PXP Energy explores joint venture prospect with China’s CNOOC

Danessa Rivera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Listed upstream oil and gas firm PXP Energy Corp. has touched base with China National Offshore Oil Co. (CNOOC) for possible joint exploration in oil and gas prospects in West Philippine Sea.

“We tried to reach out… several weeks ago,” said PXP chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan.

“It’s radio silence on their part. I’m just assuming that they have not gotten permission from their government,” he said.

During President Xi Jinping’s visit to the country in November last year, Manila and Beijing signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that could pave the way for joint oil and gas exploration in the West Philippine Sea.

PXP Energy, through London-listed Forum Energy Plc., previously engaged in talks with CNOOC, China’s state-owned oil producer, for a possible commercial arrangement covering Service Contract 72.

The oil and gas company holds a 78.98 percent stake in SC 72, the contract to explore Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea.

PXP Energy is also awaiting direction from government after it asked the Department of Energy (DOE) to lift the force majeure on its oil and gas contracts located in the disputed waters. The formal request was sent to the DOE last December.

SC 72 is among the projects affected by the moratorium issued by the DOE on all exploration and drilling works in December 2014 and 2015 amid the rising maritime tension with China.

Amid rising fuel prices and the impending expiration of the Malampaya contract, DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi earlier pushed for the lifting of the moratorium on all exploration and drilling works in the disputed waters.

SC 38, the license that allows the exploration of the Malampaya gas field in northwest Palawan, will expire in 2024 but this can be applied for extension with the DOE.


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