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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Oil firm lauds gov’t efforts to assert rights over WPS

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An oil and gas exploration company lauded the Marcos administration for asserting the Philippines’ rights over the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

PXP Energy Corp. chairman Manuel Pangilinan said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s position on the WPS, which is also claimed by China and other Asian countries, would advance national interest.

“The President is doing an excellent job in asserting our rights over the disputed territory. That’s absolutely correct,” said.

He said China’s behavior in the WPS was “not helping the relationship.”

“The interest of the country should be paramount.  In this particular case, the government is absolutely correct,” Pangilinan said.

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The tension in the WPS halted exploration and development of oil and gas-rich areas west of Palawan province, including the Recto Bank being explored by a unit of PXP.

Pangilinan said they had not engaged in talks with China or Chinese companies for a possible joint activity recently.

“No. We are not the government. That is being conducted at the government level. Our contact is commercial, CNOOC [China National Offshore Oil Corp.],  and we haven’t spoken to them for more than a year,” he said.

PXP subsidiary Forum Energy Plc operates Service Contract 72 or the Recto Bank, while PXP operates SC 75.  Both are under force majeure because of the ongoing geopolitical issues with China.

PXP and Forum Energy earlier said they would continue to coordinate with the government on the resumption of activities in both areas.

PXP said, however, it would continue to pursue exploration works on other projects in the Philippines, including SC 40 and SC 74.

The Department of Energy granted PXP’s request on March 29, 2023 to place SC 74 under a technical moratorium from Sept. 13, 2022 to Sept. 13, 2024.

PXP said the moratorium would allow PXP and its joint venture partners to conduct further studies and establish the appropriate technology required to increase production rates and recoverable reserves in the Linapacan B Field to ensure economically viable production.

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