Oil exploration in West Philippine Sea could help country to be energy-sufficient â Gatchalian
The Malampaya deep-water gas-to-power project has been operating since 2001 and its concession contract will expire in 2024. It is the only local producer of indigenous natural gas.

Oil exploration in West Philippine Sea could help country to be energy-sufficient — Gatchalian

Bella Perez-Rubio (Philstar.com) - October 16, 2020 - 4:45pm

MANILA, Philippines — The chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy on Friday welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to lift the moratorium on oil and gas exploration in the resource-rich West Philippine Sea. 

Sen. Win Gatchalian said this was a positive development, given "the dwindling supply from the Malampaya reservoir which accounts for 20% of power supply of the country and almost 30 percent in Luzon." The Malampaya deep-water gas-to-power project — the only local producer of indigenous natural gas — has been operating since 2001. Its concession contract will expire in 2024.

READ: Malampaya output not enough for future expanded requirements

"It will augur well in ensuring the country to be energy-sufficient if there are potential sources within the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) which could secure our energy supply in the coming years," he added. 

Secretary Alfonso Cusi in a statement released Thursday confirmed that Duterte lifted the ban on the recommendation of the Department of Energy. 

Cusi said the DOE issued a "resume-to-work" notice to service contractors in the areas of service contract (SC) 59, 72 and 75 in the West Philippine Sea.  The Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corp. operates SC 59, Forum Ltd. operates SC 72 and PXP Energy Corp operates SC 75. 

"Following the lifting of the moratorium, the stalled exploration and appraisal activities in Service Contracts 59, 72 and 75 can now resume and these could be new sources of oil and gas which can secure, if not contribute to stabilizing the country's energy supply," Gatchalian said. 

"The lifting of the suspension places the service contractors under legal obligation to put capital into the contract areas and hire Filipino engineers and technical workers to resume exploration," Cusi said, emphasizing that the lifting of the ban would "infuse" the economy with fresh foreign direct investments.

Similarly, Gatchalian remarked on Friday: "This could also open up the area to prospective investors under the Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program which is designed primarily to attract investors to explore indigenous energy resources." 

READ: Mining and oil stocks soar on lifting of exploration ban in West Philippine Sea  

— with a report from Patricia Viray

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