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‘Basin studies key to enticing investors in oil, gas drilling’

The Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corp. (PNOC-EC) stressed the importance of a well-crafted study of the country’s 16 sedimentary basins to make these marketable for prospective investors.

PNOC-EC President Rozzano Briguez, during Monday’s forum “Philippine Energy Transition: A Race Through Economic Disruption, Technology Shifts and Innovation,” stressed the importance of geological and geophysical studies on these basins, saying these are pre-conditions to the government’s plan to entice future investors of energy exploration in the country.

“The study will be the foundation of the investors’ knowledge on the premise of the Philippines in terms of energy resources. We have to ensure that our sedimentary basins are well studied because it’s really the foundation of future explorations we have,” said Briguez.

PNOC-EC has partnered with the Department of Energy (DOE) and the University of the Philippines (UP) for the conduct of the ongoing study which started 2 years ago.

“Right now, it is in full swing with the DOE and UP. It has been a continuing effort by PNOC-EC, starting with Cagayan basin. We partnered with DOE on this. With UP, we plan to extend these studies to the Cotabato basin and elsewhere.

In other countries, our neighbors are really having 24/7 studies of their entire geological basin. In the Philippines, unfortunately, we don’t,” he said.

He did not say when the studies would be completed. “This would take long a long time to accomplish, but it’s a good start.”

The 16 basins cover an area of more than 700,000 square kilometers. These are Agusan-Davao basin, Bicol Shelf, Cagayan basin, Central Luzon basin, Cotabato basin, East Palawan basin, Ilocos Trough, Mindoro-Cuyo basin, Northwest Palawan basin, Reed Bank basin, Southeast Luzon basin, Southwest Palawan basin, Sulu Sea basin, Visayan basin, West Luzon basin and West Masbate-Iloilo basin.

Philippine Energy Independence Council president Don Paulino, meanwhile, stressed the importance of the pursuing oil exploration activities at Recto Bank.

“It’s really about making sure we understand the geology of our sediments in these areas, West Philippine Sea [WSP] particularly because that continues to be underexplored. The pronouncement lately on the exploration on WPS is very much welcome,” he said.

The DOE earlier lifted the moratorium on oil exploration activities in the West Philippine Sea, effectively allowing PNOC-EC, Forum Energy, and PXP Energy Corp. to resume exploration activities under Service Contract 59 in West Balabac, Palawan; Service Contract 72, which covers Recto Bank, also known as Reed Bank; and Service Contract 75 is in Northwest Palawan. “This allows a more sustainable development of the WPS because for me I see a lot opportunity in that area,” he added.

Meanwhile, AC Energy President Eric Francia expects energy demand to pick up starting next year.

When he was asked during the forum about next year’s prospects, he said industry demand would resume to its pre-Covid level, if not higher, starting 2021.

“Together with recovery and demand, we are already seeing confidence in both consumer and businesses. We have started slowly seeing that in Luzon,” he said.

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  1. Have the updated seismic studies been re-started since lifting the moratorium? There is nothing in the news about ships going to SCS or WPS for this.

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