THE Energy department’s go-signal for the resumption of exploration for oil and gas in the disputed part of the South China Sea off Palawan is either a bold move, an “insane” one or a cheap stock market play. You decide; here are the facts.
First, it could be a bold, urgent move since the Malampaya Gas Field, also near Palawan, which has been providing one-fifth of our energy needs since 2002, will be drying up starting 2024. We need to replace that.
The most promising area where commercial-scale gas deposits — in fact about twice that of Malampaya’s — is in the Reed Bank. The Arroyo and Aquino governments in 2009 and 2010 awarded a “service contract” (No. 72) for the exploration and development of hydrocarbons to PXP Energy Corp., a subsidiary of the Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., mainly owned by the Indonesian magnate Anthoni Salim.(more…)