Esperon, Lorenzana to represent PH in joint gas-exploration talks with China

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 04 2019 08:53 PM

MANILA—Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon will be among those who will represent the Philippines in talks with China to explore commercial oil and gas agreements in the West Philippine Sea.

President Rodrigo Duterte announced Lorenzana and Esperon’s inclusion to the steering committee of the Philippines in Malacañang on Wednesday. 

Also being considered is Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.

The Philippines is open to share oil resources in the West Philippine Sea with China as long as Manila gets the bigger share, Duterte has said. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping said the “steering committee should prepare a substantive program on the matter” when Duterte raised the possible joint gas exploration in the West Philippine Sea during their bilateral meeting in China last week.

Philippine Ambassador to China Chito Santa Romana earlier said the Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) and China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) will be part of a "working group," while Philippine and Chinese energy ministries and concerned agencies will be part of the steering committee.