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DoE urged to clear Recto Bank operations ahead of Malampaya depletion

THE Department of Energy (DoE) should lift a ban on exploration activity around Recto Bank, to the northwest of Palawan, in order to give the Philippines an alternate source of gas once the Malampaya field runs out of commercial reserves, a legislator said.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez said in a statement that the DoE “should lift its order suspending exploration activities in the area so that its service contractor can proceed to (perform) its obligations under (Service Contract (SC) 72).”

Forum (GSEC101) Ltd., a subsidiary of PXP Energy Corp., is the operator of SC 72, which covers Recto Bank. The concession is about 8,800 square kilometers.

Within this block is the Sampaguita gas discovery, which is estimated to contain about 2.6 trillion cubic feet of contingent gas resources. It is located within the Philippine exclusive economic zone in waters disputed with China.

The DoE issued a suspension order on exploration activity in the area on April 6, 2022.

“We understand that Forum Ltd. is raring to explore Recto Bank for gas and oil. We support the contractor’s plan to go into exploration activities. We call on the DoE to give its go-signal,” Mr. Rodriguez said.

He said Recto Bank could serve as a replacement for Malampaya’s dwindling output.

The Malampaya Deepwater gas-to-power project was the first gas platform designed and constructed in the Philippines. It provides around 20% of the Philippines’ energy needs through a gas pipeline between northern Palawan and Batangas, site of most of the country’s gas-fired power plants.

Last week, the DoE granted the declaration of force majeure for SCs 72 and 75, which are separately operated by the Forum Ltd. and its parent, PXP Energy Corp., respectively. — Matthew Carl L. Montecillo 

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