2 areas in South China Sea eyed for joint exploration between Filipino, Chinese firms
Malacanang said on Friday two areas in South China Sea are being eyed for possible joint exploration between Filipino and Chinese companies.
In a press briefing in Tarlac, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the areas are inside the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.
"The two areas, if I'm not mistaken, are those what are called as the 57, Service Contract 57 and Service Contract 72," he said, noting that SC 57 was not affected by the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China.
But in the case of SC 72, it is located in the disputed area, he said.
"So there is a need for the two countries to have an agreement before the joint exploration pushes through," he said.
Roque said the joint explorations would be done by corporations and not by sovereign states.
The Department of Energy has awarded to state-run Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corporation (PNOC-EC) SC 57 located in Calamian, offshore northwest of Palawan.
PNOC-EC, which has 28 percent equity, entered into a joint venture partnership with China National Offshore Oil Company International Limited (CNOOC) ? Operator with 51 percent stake and Mitra Energy Limited with 21 percent.
SC 57 was awarded to PNOC-EC on Sept. 15, 2005 and covers a total area of 7,120 square kilometers.
According to PNOC, the request for approval of the Deed of Assignment to CNOOC and Mitra Energy has been pending since 2006 with the Office of the President.
SC 57 is under force majeure but exploration activities will resume once approval is granted, it said.
SC 72, which was awarded to Manuel V. Pangilinan's Forum Energy Plc, is located at the Reed Bank and has an area of 880,000 hectares. Exploration in this area has been suspended since a territorial dispute between the Philippines and China during the Aquino administration.
Forum Energy was supposed to partner with state-run China National Offshore Oil Corp. Celerina Monte/DMS