PNOC unit, Aussie firm allot P1B for oil drilling

Palawan prospect seen holding as much as 977M barrels

By: Amy R. Remo, May 7th, 2013 10:25 PM

Australian firm Nido Petroleum Ltd. and PNOC Exploration Corp. are investing $25 million or (roughly P1 billion) to tap as much as 977 million barrels of gross, “unrisked” oil-in-place within the Baragatan prospect off northwest Palawan.

In a regulatory filing, Nido Petroleum said the prospect, covered by Service Contract 63, holds “risked recoverable” oil volumes of about 115 million barrels, with an upside potential of 166 million barrels.

“The joint venture is progressing activities to secure a jack-up rig for the drilling of the exploration well and will drill the well as soon as practicable. The SC 63 joint venture, through PNOC-EC, has already secured the Strategic Environmental Plan Clearance (SEP) from the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) for its exploration activities within the block,” said Nido Petroleum managing director Philip Byrne.

According to Nido Petroleum, the SC 63 joint venture was planning to spud the Baragatan well as soon as possible, subject to securing appropriate government approvals and rig availability. The partners have already secured long lead items needed for the drilling activities.

For this particular venture, Nido Petroleum will be the technical operator during the drilling phases. Nido and PNOC-EC each hold a 50-percent stake in SC 63.

Apart from the Baragatan area, SC 63 covers several other prospects, including the Apribada block, which reportedly has a prospective resource potential of a billion barrels of oil; the Aboabo site, which was estimated to contain a resource potential of 370 million barrels, and the Pinta Flores prospect, with 150 million barrels.

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