Ayala unit gets extension of SC 55 work program
The Department of Energy (DOE) has granted the request of an Ayala group subsidiary for yearlong force majeure status at its Service Contract No. 55, near the southwestern coast of Palawan.
This developed as Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi insisted that the Duterte administration had been affirming its territorial rights by having lifted a moratorium on exploration in areas under dispute with China and “resuming activities” in the Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Force majeure frees the SC 55 consortium from the drilling of at least one well as the group is contractually required to achieve within two years of an “appraisal period” that officially started on April 26, 2020.
The consortium is composed of project operator Palawan55 Exploration and Production Corp. and its partner, Price Gases Inc.
ACE Enexor Inc., the parent firm of Palawan55, said in a disclosure that along with the approval of force majeure status for SC 55, the DOE had also stated that the end of the appraisal period would be adjusted accordingly.
In particular, the extension of the appraisal period will correspond to the length of time SC 55 will be on force majeure. The consortium requested this status as community quarantine restrictions were hampering workflow at SC55.
In the meantime, Enexor reiterated that the SC 55 consortium was pressing on with the detailed planning stage for the drilling of the well that they were obligated to drill.
“This approval (of force majeure) will extend the consortium’s work program schedule by up to another year and enable (them) to better plan and steer through any unforeseen and unpredictable consequences of a prolonged COVID-19 pandemic,” Pryce Corp. said in a separate disclosure.
Price Corp. is the parent firm of Price Gases, which has a 25-percent participating interest in SC 55. Palawan55 holds the remaining 75-percent stake.
In a quote card posted on May 10 on the DOE’s Facebook page, Cusi said the government had been developing the Philippine’s EEZ when in October 2020 they announced the lifting of the moratorium of exploration for oil and gas in the West Philippine Sea and “ordering” contract holders to resume their activities in the disputed areas. INQ
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