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Oil firms pursue exploration in PH

Trans-Asia Petroleum Corp. and partner Frontier Gasfields Pty. Ltd. (FGL) are furthering exploration activities in Service Contract 69 (SC 69) in Eastern Visayas.

Trans-Asia Petroleum, which is set to take over the exploration block, and its partner jointly notified the Department of Energy that they were set on sub-Phase 4 exploration in the petroleum block in Camotes Sea from May 7 this year to May 7, 2016.

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The work commitment under Sub-Phase 4 is either one exploratory well or a 50-square-kilometer 3D seismic survey.

One exploration well may cost at least $3 million while a 3D seismic survey will cost about $2 million.

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The partners also notified the DOE of the change in operatorship of SC 69 from FGL to Trans-Asia Petroleum effective May 7, 2015. Trans-Asia Petroleum has a 50-percent participating interest in SC 69.

Otto Energy of Australia used to operate SC 69, in partnership with FOC and Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corp. The Australian company dropped the project in 2013.

Despite low oil prices, the Trans-Asia group is bullish on oil exploration and development.

Weak oil prices presented opportunities for exploration of existing projects and even acquisitions of sites that were near-production, said Fransisco L. Viray, president and CEO of Trans-Asia Oil and its subsidiary, Trans-Asia Petroleum.

“We are looking at assets that are near production outside the Philippines. We are also looking at the advantage of low price of oil on other assets that we are wanting to invest in,” Viray said.

The Trans-Asia group was engaging the services of a consultant that would help it shortlist prospects outside the Philippines, Viray said.

Trans-Asia Petroleum executive vice president Raymundo Reyes said the company was not yet undertaking fundraising activities but would be doing so once it has acquired new projects, preferably around Australasia.

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Trans-Asia announced a net profit of P180 million for 2014 (from P572.8 million in 2013) and revenues of P1 billion (from P1.48 billion). Newly formed Trans-Asia Petroleum has yet to register an income.

Trans-Asia Petroleum has a 10-percent stake in SC50 in offshore Palawan; a 6.82-percent gross interest in SC 55 West Palawan through its subsidiary; a 6.67-percent interest in SC 51 East Visayas; a 50-percent percent in SC 69 Camotes Sea and a 2.334-percent stake in SC 6 Block A and 14.063 percent in SC 6 Block B.

The company has a 69.35-percent-owned subsidiary, Palawan55 Exploration and Production Corp. (Palawan55), an upstream oil and gas company that holds a participating interest in SC 55. Palawan55 is also 30.65-percent owned by Trans-Asia Petroleum’s parent company.

As of June 2014, all of Trans-Asia Petroleum’s SCs are still in the exploration stage and without any commercial production.

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TAGS: Business, oil exploration, Philippines, Trans-Asia Petroleum
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