Philex sets its sights on Palawan oil, gas field

Prospectors drawn to energy-rich basin

By: Amy R. Remo, May 11th, 2012 11:25 PM

Manuel V. Pangilinan: Looking at Area 5. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Philex Petroleum Corp., led by businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan, will bid for a contract to explore and develop a prospective oil and gas field in northwestern Palawan.

Pangilinan told reporters that Philex Petroleum was looking at Area 5, the contract for which would be auctioned off by the Department of Energy (DoE) in July. Areas 3 and 4, also located at northwestern Palawan, will likewise be offered to potential investors.

Area 5 spans 424,000 hectares of water, with depths ranging from 200 meters to 1,500 meters. Northwest Palawan, where Area 5 is located, is the most explored basin in the Philippines, with about 103 wells drilled.

This basin alone had already yielded roughly 58 million barrels of oil, 800 billion cubic feet of gas and 40 million barrels of condensate.

The basin is said to contain more resources. It has the potential to yield 400 million barrels of oil and 2,200 billion cubic feet of gas.

Areas 3, 4 and 5 were among the 15 oil and gas blocks that the DoE had offered to investors last year under the Philippine Energy Contracting Round 4.

Last month, the DoE held a bid for 12 areas, qualifying 9 of the 16 offers it received. The joint offer made by Philex Petroleum and The Philodrill Corp. for Area 15 were among the nine accepted bids.

Pangilinan also said that, of Philex Mining’s P7.7 billion capital expenditure program for 2012, about P1 billion would be allocated to Philex Petroleum.

Energy Undersecretary Jose M. Layug Jr., meanwhile, revealed that the DoE was evaluating the motions for reconsideration filed by the companies whose applications for the PECR petroleum blocks were disqualified last month. Seven applicants were not accepted due to lack of requirements.

“We’re still drafting our report for endorsement. [For those whose disqualification] were not grounded on substantive issues … we could consider them. But those applications with substantive deficiencies, such as lack of financial statements, we have to disqualify them,” Layug said.

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