LA TRINIDAD, BENGUET— President Aquino said he has no problem over the plan of businessman Manny Pangilinan to invite the state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) for an oil exploration project in the disputed Recto Bank (Reed Bank) as long as it complies with the terms and conditions stipulated in the service contract.
Aquino reiterated that Pangilinan’s venture will be operating based on the service contract authorized by the Philippine government.
“‘Yung license itself, the service contract, nakalagay na doon lahat ng guidelines, lahat ng mga conditions. He has been apprised of the same. He knows the conditions emanating thereto. This is a major project. There will be a lot of finances that are needed and it is incumbent upon him to source these financing also. So long as it complies with the terms and conditions as stipulated in the service contract, we have no issue with this venture,” Aquino told reporters after attending the oath-taking of new members of the Liberal Party from the Cordillera Administrative Region.
Asked if part of the condition is about asserting Philippine sovereignty over Reed Bank, Aquino said: “Automatic ‘yun e. It is our service contract. It is not a joint service contract.”
“Mr. Pangilinan will be undertaking the venture based on the authorization coming from the Philippine government,” he added.
Pangilinan is said to be inviting CNOOC and other foreign partners to participate in the Recto Bank project.
Pangilinan's Philex Petroleum Corp. controls UK-based oil and gas firm Forum Energy, which is conducting exploration in Recto Bank under Service Contract 72.
Forum Energy earlier said it requires some $75 million to continue with its exploration in Recto Bank, which has a potential of producing 16.6 trillion cubic feet of gas.
The estimated gas yield in Recto Bank exceeds the 3.4 trillion cubic feet of gas in the Malampaya natural gas project in Palawan.