China firm silent on PXP’s bid for joint exploration

PXP Energy Corp. is trying to convince China National Offshore Oil Corp. to proceed with the joint exploration of Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea after its initial effort received a cool response, its top executive said Wednesday.

PXP Energy chairman Manuel Pangilinan said the company “reached out” to CNOOC several weeks ago but did not receive a response.

“Radio silence on their part. I’m just assuming that they have not gotten permission from their government. We tried to reach out to them,” Pangilinan said.

PXP Energy, through Forum Energy Ltd., controls Service Contract 72 (Recto Bank) and SC 75 (Northwest Palawan), which are under moratorium amid the territorial dispute with China. 

PXP Energy asked the Department of Energy to lift the moratorium in the wake of closer ties with China. PXP Energy is hoping to continue its exploration activities in the said service contracts once the moratorium is lifted.

The Energy Department forwarded PXP Energy’s request to the Foreign Affairs Department, the agency involved with China.

“I understand the DoE has written to DFA because clearly, it involves the relationship with China. I believe that’s where it is. We have not officially been advised what is the next step for us,” Pangilinan said.

The Philippines and China last year formed a panel on the way forward for a possible joint exploration in the West Philippine Sea.

Pangilinan wanted to talk with China’s state-owned company to revive exploration in SC 72.  He earlier said PXP Energy planned to conduct a seismic survey once the moratorium was lifted.

SC 72, which covers an 8,800-square-kilometer area west off Palawan, is estimated to contain bigger oil/gas reserves than the Malampaya gas project.

“We have to send a survey ship into the area to do the final validation and establish the baseline position of the ecology where we’re likely to drill and find the potential sites for two exploratory wells,” he said.

Pangilinan also said he was waiting for developments on the planned liquefied natural gas project of 

Phoenix Petroleum Philippines and CNOOC.

Tanglawan Philippines LN, Inc., the joint venture of Phoenix and CNOOC, was granted a notice to proceed to construct the $2-billion LNG project.

PXP Energy previously announced that it would acquire up to a 49-percent interest in the planned LNG project of Phoenix as a part of the subscription agreement with Dennison Holdings Corp.  Phoenix and Dennison are companies owned by Davao City-based businessman Dennis Uy.

Dennison paid the initial downpayment of P40.29 million for the subscription of its shares in PXP Energy with the full payment due by March 31.

Dennison agreed on Oct. 26 agreed to subscribe to 340 million common shares in PXP Energy at an aggregate subscription price of P4.03 billion.

Topics: PXP Energy Corp. , China National Offshore Oil Corp. , joint oil exploration , Recto Bank , West Philippine Sea
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