Oil discovered in Cebu close to shore

Gulf News via Reuters

Posted at Jan 09 2014 10:01 AM | Updated as of Jan 09 2014 11:16 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- A new oil discovery in Cebu declared by the Department of Energy is expected to augur well for the Philippines, which is heavily dependent on imported oil.

Australian firm Gas2Grid formally announced the approval by the Energy Department of its application to declare the Malolos-1 oil well on the shore ofCebu as an "oil discovery."

"The company advises (announces) that the Philippine Department of Energy has formally recognised Malolos-1 as an oil discovery and approved an extension of SC [Service Contract] 44 in order to conduct oil production with the aim of establishing a commercial oilfield," Gas2Grid said in an announcement.

Earlier Gas2Grid managing director Dennis Morton said application for declaration of an oil discovery is the first step in appraising and developing the Malolos oilfield.

Commercial production

"When approved by the DOE it will provide an additional minimum period of 12 months to flow test the well and establish commercial production. Following the completion of that work and with the DOE's approval of commercial status, the Malolos oilfield will enter a 25 year production phase.

Morton added that available technical data also indicated the possibly that Service Contract 44 "is much larger Malolos oilfield than initially assessed."

Service Contract 44, covers 750 square kilometres in central Cebu.

Gas2Grid successfully perforated and flow tested two oil bearing sandstones in Malolos-1.

"Oil was produced on short term test at indicative production rates of between 100 to 200 barrels of oil per day (bopd) ... Previously drilled wells, Malolos-1 and Malolos-4, recorded oil bearing sandstones over a 496 metre (1,627 feet) vertical interval. The recent oil test production rates (between 100 - 200 bopd) confirm Malolos-1 as an oil discovery well.

"We are confident that further testing of Malolos-1 will result in commercial oil production from a much larger Malolos oilfield than currently assessed," Gas2Grid said.

Although measurements and testing in Malolos-1 proved that the well can produce oil at rates between 100 to 200 barrels per day, "initial assessment of the oil volume potential within the Malolos oilfield is a 'Contingent Resource' oil in place in the two oil productive sandstones in the range of between a 'Low Estimate' (1C) of 4 million barrels and a 'High Estimate' (3C) of 42 million barrels, with a 'Best Estimate' (2C) of 12 million barrels of 'Total Oil Initially in Place'."

Land proximity

Another advantage of the onshore Malolos oilfield is its proximity to land which makes transporting its products and establishing a pipeline highly feasible and commercially viable. Most of the oilfields in the country are located far offshore and required relatively bigger investments in terms of infrastructure.

Little is known publicly concerning the discovery but a July 18, 2013 service contract for Malolos 1, provides the following description: "The Malolos Oil Field is located some eight kilometres by road from the Cebu's western coast.

Oil transportation options from the Malolos Oil Field include road transport by a new, all weather, concrete road from the well site to coastal port options at nearby Aloguinsan (8 kms - less than 10 minutes by road) or the larger, established port of Toledo (32 kms - 30 minutes by road). One option would be to load the oil onto marine transport for sale either to one of two oil refineries located in Batangas, Philippines (approximately 500 kms north) or in Singapore."

Although there had been gas finds in the Philippines, most of the wells are located offshore and require considerable investments to extract.