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MVP looking for technical partner to explore West Philippine Sea

MVP looking for technical partner to explore West Philippine Sea

MANILA, Philippines — Tycoon Manuel V. Pangilinan said the consortium behind service contract 72 which he leads, needs a technical partner to proceed with the exploration of the oil and gas field.

He said talks for a possible partnership with China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) as the technical partner, have not progressed.

“We are already three (in the consortium) but there could be a fourth partner. We need a technical partner to develop the gas field,” Pangilinan told The STAR.

The consortium also includes Roberto Ongpin’s Atok Big Wedge, which owns a 20 percent stake in Forum Energy and Monte Oro Resources & Energy Inc. (MORE) of Enrique Razon.

SC 72 is located in the Recto Bank Basin, west of Palawan Island.

Monte Oro Resources holds a 30 percent direct participating interest while Forum Energy holds the remaining 70 percent participating interest in the SC through its subsidiary, Forum (GSEC 101) Ltd.

Last year, Pangilinan-led PXP Energy submitted a preliminary and revised work plan to the Department of Energy to explore for oil and gas in the West Philippine Sea following the lifting of the moratorium on drilling activities in the disputed area.

PXP still needs to do a lot of survey work for the service contract to determine where to place the oil rigs.

In August 2012, the DOE issued a moratorium on all exploration and drilling works in the area due to the territorial dispute with China, prompting PXP to seek an extension of the work program.

The DOE later extended Forum’s exploration license by another year or from August 2015 to August 2016 due to delays in the work program.

The Recto Bank area is estimated to contain prospective resources of as much as 16.6 trillion cubic feet of gas and 416 million barrels of oil.

In 2018, PXP and CNOOC signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly explore SC 72 but negotiations stalled because the government had not yet lifted the moratorium on exploration that time.