Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel on Sunday said deep-water drilling in the Sampaguita gas field in Recto Bank is a move to assert the country’s sovereign rights over its exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea.
“We are counting on Forum Energy Ltd.’s offshore drilling in Sampaguita to demonstrate that the Philippines is determined to enforce its undivided rights over Recto Bank’s vast petroleum resources. In fact, this early, we want Forum to contract the drillship for Sampaguita,” he said.
Pimentel, chairperson of the House strategic intelligence committee, noted that a recent SWS survey showed eight out of 10 Filipinos would want the next president to invoke the country’s rights over the WPS.
At least 82 percent of Filipinos said the next administration must enforce the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling that granted the Philippines sole rights over its EEZ and quashed China’s “historic-rights” claim over the entire South China Sea.
“We have very high hopes that the appraisal wells that will be drilled into Sampaguita’s world-class hydrocarbon deposits will successfully flow gas at rates deemed economically viable, just like the producing Malampaya field,” he said.
“All of the government’s private petroleum service contractors, including Forum, are required to exert maximum efforts to discover and produce gas and/or oil as soon as possible. We need Sampaguita developed right away to guarantee the country’s long-term energy security, considering that Malampaya will run out of gas by 2027,” he added.
Forum was only given an Oct. 16, 2022 deadline to drill its two commitment wells in Sampaguita estimated to contain up to 4.6 trillion cubic feet of gas and 115 million barrels of oil.
Forum has a 70 percent operating stake in Service Contract 72, which includes the Sampaguita gas find in the Recto Bank concession.
PXP Energy Corp., a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Investments Corp., effectively owns Forum. Both PXP and Metro Pacific are publicly traded entities on the Philippine Stock Exchange.
Forum is projected to spend up to $3 billion (P150 billion) to develop Sampaguita, according to London-based Edison Investment Research Ltd.