The Department of Energy (DoE) can extend the license of Service Contract 72 should the project proponents find it difficult to implement their program at the highly prospective Recto Bank amid the territorial dispute involving China and Taiwan.
But Energy Undersecretary Jose M. Layug Jr. said that the DoE has been coordinating with other government agencies to ensure that exploration companies like Forum Energy Plc, which holds a 70-percent stake in the SC 72 license, will be able to explore for oil and gas in their respective contract areas.
Layug cited Executive Order 60, which tasked all government agencies concerned to help “fast-track oil and gas exploration activities in the Philippines.”
Philex Mining Corp. chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan already sounded off concerns over possible delays in the exploration of Recto Bank, where the gas potential was estimated at about 16 trillion cubic feet—enough to last the country for 100 years.
“There’s always the possibility of a delay because of the political concerns between the Philippines and China. If Chinese gunboats appear on the horizon, then there could be delays,” Pangilinan said. “Well, it’s not our fault. We would have to seek [the DoE’s] forbearance if there’s a delay in the work program.”
Philex Mining, through subsidiaries FEC Resources Inc. and Philex Petroleum Corp., holds 64.45 percent of the issued capital of Forum Energy.