Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi on Tuesday advised PXP Energy Corp. to apply for the lifting of the exploration moratorium on its service contracts in the West Philippine Sea following the breakthrough in negotiations between the Philippines and China.
“We will see. I will await their application and work from there. They can apply,” Cusi told reporters at the sidelines of the Energy Investment Forum.
Cusi said PXP Energy should formalize its request and state that it was ready to resume exploration in its service contracts.
PXP Energy, through 79-percent owned Forum Energy Ltd., controls Service Contract 72 (Recto Bank) and SC 75 (Northwest Palawan).
Both service contracts are under force majeure because of the territorial dispute with China.
PXP Energy president Daniel Carlos said the board would discuss its next course of action.
“If he says that it should come from us, then we will request to lift the force majeure. They imposed it so we were waiting for instructions from DoE,” Carlos said.
Carlos said PXP was waiting for an advice from the government after the recent signing of the memorandum of agreement between the Philippines and China to cooperate on oil and gas development during the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Manila.
He said China designated China National Offshore Oil Corp. to work with PNOC Exploration Corp. and other service contract holders such as PXP Energy.
Carlos said PXP Energy needed to drill two exploratory wells under its work program with the government for SC 72 with estimated investment of about $60 million.
PXP Energy chairman Manuel Pangilinan earlier said the signing of a cooperation with China would boost the local oil and liquefied natural gas industries.
“The signing of MOU with China is a small but significant step, [in terms of the] the impact [it will] have on the LNG sector and our goal of achieving energy security from domestic resources in the country today,” Pangilinan said.
“I do hope that this could lead to some positive steps that we can take in respect of the work program that the group presented to the previous government in respect of the exploration and development work,” Pangilinan said.
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