French firm Total E&P Philippines B.V. is beefing up its exploration activities to find possible gas sources in the country.
Total E&P Philippines has partnered with Mitra Energy Ltd. of Malaysia for the drilling operations in Service Contract 56 (SC56) in the South Sulu Sea.
Fabien Colmet Daage, general manager of Total E&P Philippines, said they were given an extension by the government to pursue the exploration until August 31, 2020.
“We have obtained from the Department of Energy an extension until August 31, 2020, more time to access the potential of the site,” said Daage.
The joint venture has spent around $50 million (P2.2 billion) for the study and has already completed a 3D seismic survey covering 540 square kilometers in the area.
The second 3D seismic survey followed an initial survey conducted in 2007 which covered 1,756 square kilometers in SC 56.
Although the project faces challenges, Daage said this will not prevent them from pursuing the exploration activities.
“You all know that the probability of not finding is higher than the probability of finding but we are not discouraged,” he said.
He explained that since SC56 was discovered in 2005, many changes have come to pass.
“Exploration is quite a challenge. Where on the planet to look for new gas?” said Daage.
He cited the drilling of four wells by Exxonmobil but it turned out to be not commercially viable.
In 2012, Daage said the company decided to enter into SC56, taking a 75 percent stake while Mitra holds 25 percent interest.
“In October of 2014, we have taken operatorship and now we are studying the development of the first well,” he added.
Following the results of the initial survey, the SC 56 consortium is optimistic of a bigger oil and gas find in the area in water depths ranging from 200 meters to 3,000 meters.
Mitra earlier said that based on previous drillings, SC 56 is estimated to contain a contingent resource of between 42 million barrels and 56 million barrels of oil.
Additional prospective resources in undrilled prospects and leads are estimated at 628 million barrels of oil to 1.127 billion barrels of oil.
Daage, however, said that exploration is a very risky business and that the result is “prospective and not to be relied upon.”