Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. (SPEX) is looking into possible exploration projects in the disputed West Philippine Sea.
SPEX managing director Sebastian Quinones, however, said the planned exploration projects have been shelved for now because of the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China.
The Philippine government has filed an arbitration case on the legality of China’s so-called “nine-dotted line” claim over the West Philippine Sea under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
He said the decision of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) on the arbitration case could affect their planned explorations in the disputed territory.
Because of this, Quinones said they are still waiting for the outcome of the arbitration case before proceeding with any exploration projects.
“Going forward is always our desire for exploration, so we are waiting for the results of the UNCLOS that will impact on oil exploration,” said Quinones.
SPEX is the operator of the $2 billion landmark Malampaya natural gas development project located in the West Philippine Sea.
Meanwhile, Quinones said they are on track with phase 3 of the Malampaya natural gas platform project as it is expected to be completed this year.
“The depletion compression platform will be towed out to Palawan soon, so in that manner we are along with the plan,” Quinones said.
Quinones said the project will be further speeded up once Malampaya shuts down for maintenance in March.
“We do have our turnaround or the shutdown that’s coming March 15 to April 15 so the project will progress also,” he added.
Pilipinas Shell country president Ed Chua earlier said that the Malampaya platform is among its major projects that are lined up for completion this year.
The Malampaya Phase 3 project involves the design, fabrication and installation of a new depletion compression platform.
Two additional production wells were successfully installed in 2013, marking the completion of Malampaya Phase 2.
Malampaya Phases 2 and 3 aim to maintain the level of gas production to fulfill commitments under existing gas sales agreements and provide a steady supply of natural gas to power the Luzon electricity grid.
Besides the Malampaya project, Shell also targets to complete the construction of an import terminal in Cagayan de Oro and the upgrade of an oil refinery in Batangas.