4 service contracts on oil, gas exploration in WPS pending

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi

FOUR service contracts for oil and gas exploration in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) are now in the final stages of processing, according to the Department of Energy (DOE).

“As we are talking now, I believe that we have four service contracts that are being processed already and then [will be brought] to Malacañang for President’s signature for award,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said in an online press briefing on Thursday.

In December, Cusi had reported they received 14 applications for oil and gas exploration in the WPS under their Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program (PCECP).

This after President Duterte lifted the moratorium on oil and gas exploration in the WPS in 2020.

This is part of the government’s efforts to seek new energy sources amid the looming depletion of the Malampaya natural gas field, which is the second-biggest source for fuel for the energy production in Luzon.

Cusi said they continue to look for more partners in conducting more exploration in areas within the country’s exclusive economic zone in WPS and territorial seas.

He noted the said activities are expected to push through despite the country’s territorial disputes with China in WPS.

“The said incursions of Chinese Coast Guard vessel [in Philippine waters] is a separate [issue]. It does not interfere [our] exploration,” Cusi said.

The most recent of the incursions happened in early March Julian Felipe Reef (Whitsun Reef) located 175 nautical miles from Bataraza, Palawan. Over 200 boats believed to be maritime militia of China have remained in areas within the Philippines’s exclusive economic zone.  The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has been filing daily diplomatic protests against Beijing, as it vowed to do, while the boats remain in the area.


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