'Natgas in Recto Bank enough to last a century'

By Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 26 2012 05:53 PM | Updated as of Apr 27 2012 02:09 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said the estimated natural gas deposits in Recto Bank are enough to last for more than a century.

The more positive prospect is around 11 TCF (trillion cubic feet) compared to the Malampaya's 2.7 TCF of natural gas. Oil and liquids prospects amount to as high as 291 million barrels.

Almendras said the country will do everything to protect this natural resource.

On top of this, the Department of Energy (DOE) is also set to open bids for oil and gas explorations on Friday despite protests from China since some of the service contract areas are also claimed by China or near the disputed areas.

Almendras agreed that the Philippines is "sitting on a pot of gold" so to speak but has refused to confirm an estimate that the country has $26.3 trillion worth of oil and gas deposits.

Despite the tension, Almendras said not one of the service contract holders have aired any concern about security.

But the Energy Secretary revealed the government is planning to acquire another kind of warship that will patrol Philippine seas to ensure no encroachment in the area. This will be the third ship after the 2 Hamilton cutters ordered from the US and several choppers to complete the security detail.

Meanwhile, Almendras said he received information of a possible temporary restraining order(TRO) against the opening and granting of 2 service contracts on Friday.

He declined to identify the company that brought the matter to court, but said this does not involve areas being disputed by China.

Sources said Almendras might be referring to the Burgundy Group whose contract was revoked after failing to do any exploration in their service contract areas. The current DOE leadership has ordered the rebidding of service contracts whose winner bidder has not done anything to commence preliminary and actual exploration.