“Pursuant to the policy of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on the promotion of energy security and the exercise of sovereign rights, the Department of Energy ordered the lifting of the moratorium on oil and gas activities in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), and the resumption of all programmed work and financial plans in the area,” Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi said in a statement released July 16.
Cusi added that “the DOE has endorsed to the Office of the President the awarding of three new Petroleum Service Contracts (PSCs) located in the WPS.”
“These activities are concrete and explicit forms of the enforcement of sovereign rights consistent with our real gains in the South China Sea Arbitral Award. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, petroleum licensing is the most important sovereign right of a coastal state like the Philippines,” he added.
“With the lifting of the moratorium in the WPS, the Service Contractors are obliged to comply with approved work commitments in their respective PSCs,” the energy chief said. “The indicated service contracts are all in the exploration stage. In the oil and gas industry, exploration activities include a thorough study and understanding of the geological and geophysical characteristics of the area, as well as the conduct of on-site survey and drilling activities.”
“Due to the significant investment involved in carrying out exploration programs, on-site exploration activities are carefully planned to ensure the maximum coverage of data collection in the study area. Physical structures (i.e. production platforms) shall only be installed prior to the production of petroleum in commercial quantities,” Cusi said.