MANILA - There are "positive" signs exploration in the South China Sea can resume due to improved ties between the Philippines and China, PXP Energy Chairman Manuel Pangilinan said Friday.
PXP Energy holds the right to drill in Reed Bank, which is disputed by Manila and Beijing. The project was put on hold following several tense encounters at sea during the Aquino government.
The Philippines' current relationship with China is "more open and friendlier," Pangilinan said.
President Rodrigo Duterte refused to tout Manila's legal victory over Beijing in an international arbitration court as he sought more aid and investments from China.
"I can just describe the general context under which we can move forward and the environment looks pretty positive," Pangilinan said.
Asked if PXP Energy was talking with the Chinese side, Pangilinan said: "That's a tough question because you appreciate it's a very delicate situation."
"I think there are indications that there could be gas in the area," he said.
PXP Energy shares were up 5.2 percent to P3.64 on Friday.