Forum Energy to extend exploration in Reed Bank

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The Department of Energy has granted the request of Forum Energy Plc to extend by one year the drilling of two wells in SC 72 located in the disputed Reed Bank in the South China Sea.

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London-listed Forum Energy Plc., which is majority-owned by the Manuel Pangilinan-led Philex Mining Corp., holds a 70 percent stake in Service Contract 72, which covers the Reed Bank.

A disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Thursday said that Forum Energy has secured a one-year extension to drill two wells within SC 72 located in the area.

“Forum Energy, the UK incorporated oil and gas exploration and production company with a focus on the Philippines, on Thursday confirmed that the Department of Energy [DOE] has granted the company’s request for an extension of the second sub-phase of SC72,” Philex Petroleum Inc. said in the filing.

According to another Pangilinan-led firm, the deadline for completion of the second sub-phase, comprising the drilling of two appraisal wells, has now been extended by one year to August 15, 2016.

“Further details regarding the company’s plan for SC72 will be made in due course, as and when appropriate,” Philex Petroleum further said.

The development was confirmed by another listed firm, Atok-Big Wedge Co. Inc., through another filing with the local bourse.

Atok-Big Wedge has a 27.14 percent stake in Forum Energy through its wholly owned subsidiary Tidemark Holdings Ltd.

The prospective issues on the Reed Bank were re-discussed after Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Ma Keqing suggested during her visit last year that China and the Philippines collaborate in maximizing the oil and gas potential of Reed Bank, as well as in other investments.

However, after Pangilinan’s group expressed an interest to do a joint venture with state-owned China National Offshore Oil Co. Ltd. (CNOOC) on the development of Reed Bank, Pangilinan himself admitted in an interview in April that the communication between them and CNOOC has “sort of” died down.

It was also reported earlier that the group of Pangilinan is ready to pull out of the proposed partnership with CNOOC for the exploration and development of the Reed Bank if political and commercial talks do not satisfy the company and the interest of the country.

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