PH to ex­plore for oil, gas with China near dis­puted waters

Panay News - - BUSINESS -

MANILA – The Philip­pines said on Thurs­day it was pur­su­ing a long- de­layed oil and gas ex­plo­ration project with Chi­nese state- owned en­tity CNOOC Ltd and a Canada-listed com­pany in an area near dis­puted waters in the South China Sea.

En­ergy sec­re­tary Al­fonso Cusi said the Philippine gov­ern­ment was also look­ing for a “win- win so­lu­tion” with other South China Sea claimants, in­clud­ing China, to pave the way for oil and gas ex­plo­ration within con­tested waters.

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which about $5 tril­lion in ship- borne trade passes an­nu­ally, while Brunei, Malaysia, Tai­wan and Viet­nam also have claims.

The Philip­pines sus­pended ex­plo­ration in the dis­puted waters, halt­ing two projects, as it pur­sued and even­tu­ally won an ar­bi­tra­tion case in­volv­ing ter­ri­to­rial dis­putes with China.

Cusi, speak­ing at a me­dia briefing af­ter a meet­ing in Manila with other en­ergy min­is­ters from South­east Asia, said the is­sue of en­ergy ex­plo­ration in South China Sea was not dis­cussed.

“We are look­ing for a win- win so­lu­tion to move things for­ward so that we can en­joy what­ever re­sources are there.”

Cusi said he had put for­ward the Calamian project of PNOC Ex­plo­ration Corp, a unit of state-owned Philippine Na­tional Oil Com­pany, in part­ner­ship with CNOOC and Jade­stone En­ergy Inc. to Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte for his ap­proval.

The Calamian project off the is­land of Palawan in western Philip­pines is cov­ered by a ser­vice con­tract awarded to the PNOC unit in 2008. It lies near the coun­try’s main oil and gas fields, in­clud­ing Malam­paya, Nido, Cad­lao and Matin­loc.

Ex­plo­ration was de­layed by “a lot of is­sues”, Cusi said.

CNOOC has a 51 per­cent in­ter­est in the project, with PNOC Ex­plo­ration keep­ing a 28 per­cent stake while

for­merly Mitra En­ergy Ltd, has 21 per­cent.

Cusi was sched­uled to meet his Chi­nese coun­ter­part in Manila on Thurs­day to talk about en­ergy co­op­er­a­tion.

“We’re l ook­ing f or a diplo­matic way of do­ing things,” Cusi said. “I don’t like to (set) any timetable but we are try­ing our best to (lift the ex­plo­ration mora­to­rium) as soon as pos­si­ble.” ( Reuters)



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