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MVP: Marcos trip to China a ‘good’ opportunity

Richmond Mercurio - The Philippine Star
MVP: Marcos trip to China a âgoodâ opportunity
Manuel V. Pangilinan
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Business titan Manuel V. Pangilinan sees President Marcos’ upcoming state visit to China as a good opportunity for both countries to discuss issues about oil and gas exploration in the West Philippine Sea.

“It’s a good time to talk about it because the President I think is scheduled to go to Beijing in January. It’s probably on the agenda, I don’t know, but they should talk about it,” Pangilinan said.

President Marcos has accepted Chinese President Xi Jinping’s invitation for him to go to China on a state visit in January.

Pangilinan chairs PXP Energy Corp., which holds interest in two petroleum exploration service contracts in the West Philippine Sea.

PXP Energy earlier expressed its readiness to resume activities in Service Contract (SC) 75 and SC 72 if allowed to do so. Pangilinan, however, said they would need a go signal from the government first.

“The assets are owned by the state. We’re merely concessionaires,” he said.

A previous force majeure imposed on SC 75 and SC 72 was lifted by the Department of Energy (DOE) on Oct. 16, 2020, allowing its contractors to resume exploration activities.

PXP and Forum Energy Ltd., however, received last April 6 a directive from the DOE to “put all on hold all exploration activities for SC 75 and SC 72 until such time that the Security, Justice and Peace Coordinating Cluster (SJPCC) has issued the necessary clearance to proceed.”

The SJPCC agreed that prior approval of the said cluster is required before any oil exploration activities in the West Philippine Sea are allowed.

PXP Energy and Forum suspended all activities in both SCs in compliance with the directive.

Last October, the DOE granted the declaration of force majeure for SC 75 and SC 72 effective April 6 this year.

A force majeure event excuses contractors from performing their respective obligations and allows extension of exploration period under the service contracts.

Listed PXP holds 50 percent interest in SC 75 located in Northwest Palawan.

Forum Energy, in which PXP holds a direct and indirect interest of 79.13 percent, has a 70 percent participating interest in SC 72 – also in Northwest Palawan – through its wholly owned subsidiary Forum. PXP has a total economic interest of 54.36 percent in SC 72.

MANUEL V. PANGILINAN

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