State-run PNOC Exploration Corp. said it is looking forward to the resolution of the territorial dispute between China and the Philippines to reinvigorate the country’s oil and gas industry.
“PNOC EC is also looking forward to the resolution of the maritime disputes between China and the Philippines as this will lead to the following: resumption of petroleum operations for SC [Service Contract] 58 [West Calamian], SC 59 [West Balabac] and SC 75 [Northwest Palawan],” PNOC-EC president Rozzano Briguez said during a webinar over the weekend.
The three service contracts are presently under force majeure, putting exploration for oil and gas resources in the disputed West Philippine Sea on hold.
Briguez said the resolution of the conflict would “boost exploration and development of hydrocarbon resources in the vast West Philippine Sea.”
He said PNOC EC would resume exploration in SC 57 and SC 59 with joint venture partners as soon as issues were resolved including the maritime dispute in the West Philippine Sea.
Briguez said PNOC EC would also continue to support exploration and production activities of its joint venture partners, such as Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. for Malampaya gas production in SC 38 and Nido Petroleum in SC 58 and PXP Energy for SC 74 & SC 75.
He said the company would also continue to explore new service contracts in Cotabato, Cagayan, East Palawan, West Philippine Sea and other prospective areas being offered by the Energy Department.
“PNOC EC also intends to pursue collaboration with other institutions and companies to further study Philippine sedimentary basins to assess their petroleum potential given new information and advances in technology,” Briguez said.
“The main objective is to open up new areas for exploration by ensuring that the country’s geologic sedimentary basins are well-studied and properly marketed to possible investors,” he said.
PNOC EC also plans to drill an exploration well in SC 37 on the shore of Cagayan.
“If it turns out to be a commercial discovery, PNOC EC will prepare a gas to power project [similar to San Antonio with a power plant development],” the official said.
PNOC EC aims to be the leading energy exploration and production company in the Philippines by 2030 with a global reach. Its areas of interest include seven petroleum service contracts and four coal operating contracts
“PNOC EC will prioritize projects with higher projected revenue or fastest ROI. Thus, we will be focusing on the development and production of mines in COC 41, and the development of the coal mine-mouth power plant project in COC 122,” Briguez said.
PNOC EC will also continue with exploration projects in COC 185 and 186 and pursue new exploration COCs through the DOE’s Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program. The company will also assess the potential of coal-bed methane in the COCs.
Taking advantage of the high quality of coal in Zamboanga Sibugay, PNOC EC is looking at production from two underground mines by 2025.
“PNOC EC’s underground coal mine operations will remain as the largest of its kind in the country. A coal mine-mouth power plant in Isabela Province will be in operation generating at least 50 MW. It is a pioneering undertaking utilizing low rank indigenous coal [lignite],” Briguez said.