The exploration venture will focus on the Calamian oil and gas prospect near the Malampaya natural gas discovery in the country


PNOC was awarded ‘Service Contract 57’ by the Department of Energy in 2005. (Credit: C Morrison from Pixabay)

The Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) is reportedly planning to commence an exploration venture with state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) in the South China Sea by next year.

The exploration venture, which will focus on the Calamian oil and gas prospect, was announced by PNOC-Exploration president Rozzano Briguez, Reuters reported.

The Calamian oil and gas prospect lies in Service Contract (SC) 57, near the Malampaya natural gas discovery in the Philippines.

In 2005, the Department of Energy awarded PNOC with ‘Service Contract 57’, which covers a total area of 7,200km2 in offshore Northwest Palawan and is situated 50km northwest of the north-westernmost tip of Busuanga Island.

CNOOC acquired 51% stake in Calamian prospect while Mitra Energy purchased 21% interest, leaving the remaining 28% with PNOC Exploration.

According to the news agency, Service Contract 57 is among the five exploration projects in the Philippines that have been given go ahead.

This follows the country’s decision to lift a six-year-old ban on energy-related activities in the South China Sea.

Malampaya field is estimated to dry up by 2027

In a senate budget hearing, the news agency cited Briguez as saying that the Calamian oil and gas prospect is estimated to hold natural gas reserves equivalent to two-thirds of Malampaya field’s 2.9 trillion cubic feet (tcf)-3.2tcf, based on initial studies

Briguez added: “By the fourth quarter next year we can start drilling, and if we will be lucky, by 2026 or early 2027, production will start for SC 57.”

Based on the Philippines Energy Department’s recent projection, the Malampaya field is estimated to dry up by 2027.

The Malampaya gas field supplies fuel to four power projects, which together supply power to meet about a fifth of the country’s electricity requirements.

Last year, Phoenix Petroleum Philippines and CNOOC Gas and Power Group (CNOOC G&P) have inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with PNOC for the Tanglawan Philippine LNG project.