THE LIFTING of the suspension of exploration activities in the West Philippine Sea will help in the country’s economic recovery, the Energy secretary said during an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) regional energy forum on Thursday.
“This development would augur well for our economic recovery in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, given that the resumption of work would infuse our economy with fresh investments and help generate high-skill employment opportunities,” Department of Energy (DoE) Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi was quoted as saying in a statement Friday.
This comes about a month after President Rodrigo R. Duterte told the DoE to lift the moratorium on activities and resumption of petroleum exploration in the parts of the West Philippine Sea.
During the forum, Mr. Cusi also asked the ASEAN Council on Petroleum to revisit existing sharing agreements on oil and gas exploration and production, and make recommendations on new measures that can be adopted. According to him, this will “fast track the ASEAN’s goal of reaching energy security.”
He also encouraged national oil companies based in the ASEAN to “explore joint oil and gas exploration and development.”
The DoE this month reminded Philippine exploration companies that they do not need to seek China’s approval in surveying and drilling in parts of the West Philippine Sea.
Last month, Mr. Cusi said that service contractors (SC) 59, 72 and 75 in the West Philippine Sea were issued “resume-to-work” notices. The state-led Philippine National Oil Co.-Exploration Corp. operates SC 59. Forum Ltd. and PXP Energy Corp. operate SC 72 and SC 75, respectively. — Angelica Y. Yang