Firm to pursue lifting of oil exploration ban
PXP Energy Corp. will ask the government to lift a moratorium on exploration activities in the West Philippine Sea, particularly at the Recto Bank, which is subject to a territorial dispute with China.
Daniel Stephen P. Carlos, PXP Energy president, said in an interview that this new development would be referred to the company’s board.
“We had been waiting for the government to tell us that we can resume [exploration] in the area of Service Contract No. 72,” Carlos said.
“Now I hear that it would have to be us to ask for a lifting of the force majeure,” he said. “If that is so, then we should do that.”
He was referring to statements that Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi gave to reporters also yesterday.
Asked whether the moratorium would be finally rescinded following the signing of a memorandum of understanding with China regarding a possible joint exploration of disputed areas, Cusi said the companies involved—such as PXP Energy— would have to request a lifting of the force majeure.
Recto Bank is located west off Palawan, where exploration in the area began in 1970 and where natural gas was discovered in 1976 in the geological structure dubbed Sampaguita.
SC 72 has been under force majeure since Dec. 15, 2014, due to the West Philippine Sea maritime dispute.
A survey ship contracted by Forum Energy Ltd.—an affiliate of by PXP Energy Corp. (formerly Philex Petroleum Corp.) —was reportedly almost rammed by Chinese patrol vessels.
By 2015, activities at Recto Bank has been suspended as Malacañang pursued international arbitration over the territorial dispute.
Philex group chair Manuel V. Pangilinan had reiterated their intention of wanting to continue work at Recto Bank.
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