SC 55 group pursuing exploration plan
BHP Billiton and its partners in Service Contract 55 said they remained keen on pursuing the exploration and development of prospective oil and gas blocks off Palawan despite the difficulties they were facing.
This was also despite an earlier statement made by Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla that his department would cancel the license of the consortium if it would fail to comply with the planned work program.
The SC 55 consortium is composed of BHP Billiton, which holds a 60-percent interest; Otto Energy Ltd., 33.18 percent and Phinma-led Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corp., 6.82 percent.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Trans-Asia quoted Otto Energy’s regulatory filing as saying that “SC 55 operator BHP Billiton Petroleum Philippines and its partners are focused on delivering the Cinco-1 well in accordance with the contractual work program commitments to the Philippine Department of Energy.”
According to Otto Energy, all critical permits have already been obtained with the exception of the Strategic Environmental Plan Clearance (SEP Clearance) by the Provincial Council for Sustainable Development. The requirements for the SEP Clearance were submitted in August 2012.
“The Sangguniang Panlalawigan has requested the submission by BHP Billiton of a comprehensive socio-economic development program for the province of Palawan, prior to endorsement of the SEP Clearance by the [Provincial Council], which is not a requirement under Philippine Law, nor has it been required for exploration approvals in the past,” Otto Energy disclosed.
“BHP Billiton is seeking to work with the Department of Energy to address the impairment of rights and obligations of the joint venture partners caused by this range in the manner of implementing the SEP Clearance,” the Australian firm further explained. Amy R. Remo
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