Oil exploration in Reed Bank may soon resume after Duterte lifts moratorium

The oil exploration in Recto (Reed) Bank under Service Contract (SC) 72 with Forum Energy as contractor may soon resume after President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of Department of Energy (DOE) to lift the suspension of petroleum activities in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

DOE said that “Resume-to-Work” notice was issued to the service contractors doing petroleum-related activities in the areas of SC 59, 72, and 75 in the West Philippine Sea.

SC 59 (Southwest Palawan) is operated by Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corp. (PNOC-EC), while SC 75 (Northwest Palawan) is operated by PXP Energy Corp.

“I thank the President for approving the DOE recommendation. We need to explore so we may address the country’s energy security,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said.

“With the impending depletion of our natural gas reserve in Malampaya, it is the department’s position that there is an urgent imperative to resume exploration, development, and production activities within our EEZ to ensure continuity of supply of indigenous resources in the country,” Secretary Cusi added.

“The lifting of the suspension places the service contractors under legal obligation to put capital into the contract areas and hire Filipino engineers and technical workers to resume exploration,” he added. “The oasis of peace that the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs envision must also be an oasis of prosperity. For this to happen, the Philippines must restart its economy using the engine of energy resiliency and security.”