A STUDY of the country’s sedimentary basins is needed to spur exploration as current resources like Malampaya become depleted, according to the Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corp. (PNOC-EC).
PNOC-EC said more data needs to be collected on 16 sedimentary basins, while the maritime dispute in the West Philippine Sea poses a challenging environment for attracting investment.
“The Philippines has an unknown remaining potential for new oil and gas resources,” PNOC-EC President Rozzano D. Briguez said during a virtual briefing hosted by Samahang Plaridel Tuesday.
“But this is not due to the absence of a petroleum system. Rather, this is caused by the absence of modern 3D seismic data over large areas and the lack of exploration drilling activities since the late 1990s,” he added.
Since the company was established in 1975, it has dug only 46 petroleum wells or about one well per year.
With the projected tightening of electricity supply and demand conditions in the next few years, the Philippines needs to ramp up the development of other indigenous energy sources, Representative Godofredo N. Guya of Recoboda Party-list said at the briefing.
Mr. Briguez said new oil and gas discoveries will help augment and replace Malampaya’s reserves, which are seen to run out by 2027, based on projections by the Department of Energy (DoE).
PNOC-EC is currently working with the University of the Philippines and the DoE in conducting geophysical and geologic studies.
Attracting investment will help reduce dependence on imported crude oil and petroleum products, it said.
PNOC-EC is hoping for a “better” situation in the contested waters in order to resume petroleum operations in Service Contracts 58, 59, and 75.
According to Mr. Guya, investors are deterred by the risk associated with exploration in the area. “It is high time to zoom our focus on national security,” he said.
Five legislators belonging to the so-called power bloc filed House Resolution No. 1063 which called for an inquiry into the security situation and policies affecting energy security.
A joint hearing by the defense and energy committees is set for next week, according to Philreca Party-list Rep. Presley de Jesus.
“Unless the government quickly addresses all these energy issues and rising demands, the Philippines may face an acute power shortage,” Ako Padayon Party-list Rep. Adriano A. Ebcas said. — Adam J. Ang