Philippines Accepts Bis for South China Sea Oil, Gas Blocks
The Philippines has accepted bids from six companies to explore for natural gas and oil in the disputed South China Sea.
These bids relate to gas and oil exploration in three offshore blocks in the disputed Spratly Islands west of the Philippine province of Palawan, Kyodo News reported.
"We don't see any problem with what we have done. These areas are clearly within the sovereign rights of the Philippines," Energy Undersecretary Jose Layug said, noting the areas fall within the country's 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone.
China and Vietnam claim all territories in the Paracel and Spratly island groups, while Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan and the Philippines claim parts of the groups.
One block offered for exploration is close to the Reed Bank, where Chinese vessels reportedly harassed a Philippine energy team conducting seismic studies in the area last year, the news report said.
Located near the Malampaya field, which produced around 970 billion cubic feet of gas, 43.9 million barrels of condensate, and 1.9 million barrels of oil from 2001 to 2010, the three blocks earmarked for exploration are believed to contain larger gas and oil deposits.
"They need to conduct seismic studies, more studies to zero in on the actual figure. But certainly, because it is adjacent to the Malampaya area, we anticipate a huge deposit of natural gas and even oil in those areas," Layug said.