The Energy Department said the West Philippine Sea continues to receive strong interest from international oil and gas companies such as Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. and NWP Ventures.
“Despite the current situation involving the contentious areas, investors remain eager and committed to explore the area for petroleum resources,” the department said in a statement.
“In fact, noteworthy companies, particularly Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. and NWP Ventures, both UK-based companies, have likewise nominated blocks for petroleum service contract applications within the disputed areas,” the agency said.
“Multiple companies, including Spanish firm Repsol, have also shown interest in farming in the West Philippine Sea area,” it said.
The department said many other interested parties were awaiting the government’s policy direction in the West Philippine Sea and expressed their desire to explore the area once the current moratorium due to force majeure was lifted.
Other areas of interest are Sulu Sea, Quezon province, Ragay Gulf and Mindoro.
The Energy Department said that even before the nominations for areas for oil and gas exploration were accepted under the Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program, many companies expressed interest towards the Northwest Palawan and Recto Bank areas, with some firms already having nominated various areas in the disputed zones.
Among those companies is PXP Energy, the operator of Service Contract 72 in Recto Bank.
“To date, the DOE has received a total of six requests for area clearances from multiple companies for the Northwest Palawan-Recto Bank area,” it said.
The agency said that under the nomination process, interested companies may submit their letter of intent for the proposed area for nomination. It will then notify the proponents to publish their nomination which will be subject to challenge within 60 days from publication.
The required documents for legal, technical and financial evaluation will be submitted after the lapse of the 60-day period and if the submission/application is found compliant with the existing laws and guidelines, the department will recommend to the President the execution of the appropriate service contract.
The agency also said that the recent opening of applications under PCECP affirmed the continued interest of investors in the country’s upstream petroleum industry.
It said that it began evaluating the applications for four pre-determined areas and three nominated areas coming from six companies/joint ventures.
These include Ratio Petroleum Ltd., Philodrill Corp. and PXP Energy Corp. (JV), Sulu Sea Energy Resources Development Corporation, Esmaulana Global Ventures Company Inc., Troika Giant Power Corp. and Superior (SG) Shipyards Corp.