PNOC-EC to start drilling activities off northwest Palawan in 2021
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Oil Co.-Exploration Corp. (PNOC-EC) is looking to start drilling activities for one of its petroleum service contracts (SC) covering an area off northwest Palawan in the last quarter of 2021.
This comes as President Rodrigo Duterte has already lifted the moratorium on oil and gas exploration in the resource-rich West Philippine Sea.
“With the lifting of the moratorium, part of our plan is centered on the two service contracts that we have. One is within the disputed area and one is well inside northwest Palawan, that is SC 57 and SC 59,” PNOC-EC president and chief executive officer Rozzano Briguez said in a Senate hearing on the proposed budget of the Department of Energy (DOE) and its attached agencies on Tuesday.
“The timeline is in the fourth quarter next year we can start drilling, and if we will be lucky, by 2026 or early 2027, production will start for SC 57,” he also said.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chair of the Senate committee on energy, welcomed this announcement as “very good news.”
“That’s very good news because definitely, we need to replace Malampaya as soon as possible, even though the timetable to extract that and to produce is way beyond 2024,” the legislator said.
“But at least it is not so far apart. I really believe that that area has tremendous potential and it’s really about time for PNCO being the national oil company to start developing that area,” he added.
Briguez said PNOC-EC recently met with officials of DOE and the Armed Forces’ Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) to discuss certain arrangements to be observed when it moves forward with its drilling activities.
He said PNOC-EC was given 30 days to present their plans for the service contracts, but added that the DOE and WestMinCom will also meet individually with other proponents.
“But as to the question of whether what is the plan of PNOC-EC, it’s really now to continue with the 3D seismic study on SC 59 as well as the farming out of SC 57. We also plan in proceeding to the other areas also of which we have an interest and that is SC 75 and 58. But right now the main two that we are interested in moving forward are 57 and 59,” he said.
According to Briguez, SC 57 has the most potential among all of its service contracts in terms of generating indigenous oil and gas for the country.
Information from PNOC-EC’s website showed SC 57 covers a total area of 7,200 km2 in off northwest Palawan and is situated around 50 kilometers northwest of the north-westernmost tip of Busuanga Island.
“Well logically since it is near Malampaya, then it goes with common knowledge that SC 57 might have the same potential as Malampaya,” Gatchalian commented.
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