The group of business tycoon Manuel Pangilinan is set to start the drilling of its oil and gas find in offshore Palawan in 2016.
Pangilinan chairs the Philex Petroleum Corp., which controls Forum Energy Plc. that will do the drilling in an area being claimed by China.
Forum Energy said the drilling on its principal asset could be done after a seismic survey in April or May next year for the Service Contract (SC) 72 Reed Bank, which contains the Sampaguita gas discovery.
“There could be a seismic survey done as early as April or May next year and I propose appraisal of drilling in 2016,” Pangilinan told reporters.
He said Philex Petroleum has already initiated talks with China National Offshore Oil Corp. (Cnooc) for a potential partnership.
“We’ve requested a meeting with them but they have not responded yet,” he added.
Pangilinan earlier said that their discussion with Cnooc has not been coming forward because of the geo-political issues between China and the Philippines.
The SC 72 Reed Bank in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) is one of the areas being claimed by China as part of its territory.
Forum Energy was set to start its exploratory drilling program earlier, but it decided to hold drilling activities because of the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China.
Pangilinan, however, said they hope to finalize arrangements with Cnooc soon.
“So, as soon as those arrangements are finalized we will, of course, advise our government,” he said.
Because of the delay in its drilling program, Forum Energy sought and obtained a two-year extension from the Department of Energy for the implementation of the second exploration sub-phase of SC72 to August 2015.
Philex Petroleum owns 60.49 percent of Forum Energy, a UK-based upstream oil and gas company.
Forum Energy holds a 70-percent interest in SC72, and the remaining 30 percent is owned by Monte Oro Resources and Energy Inc., led by businessman Enrique Razon Jr. RITCHIE A. HORARIO