THE head of the House Committee on Strategic Intelligence on Sunday said the slated deep-water drilling in the Sampaguita gas discovery is expected to forcefully assert the country’s sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea.

Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel said the government has given Forum Energy Ltd.’s  an October 16, 2022 deadline to drill its two commitment wells in Sampaguita, which is estimated to contain up to 4.6 trillion cubic feet of gas and 115 million barrels of oil.

Sampaguita gas discovery is located 250 kilometers southwest of Malampaya.

“We are counting on Forum Energy Ltd.’s offshore drilling in Sampaguita to demonstrate that the Philippines is determined to enforce its undivided rights over Recto Bank’s vast petroleum resources,” Pimentel said in a statement at the weekend.

“In fact, this early, we want Forum to contract the drillship for Sampaguita,” Pimentel said.

Pimentel was responding to the results of a  survey which showed that eight of 10 Filipinos want the next president to champion the country’s rights over the West Philippine Sea.

The poll indicated that 82 percent of Filipinos believe that the next administration should put into effect the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling affirming the Philippines’s rights over its exclusive economic zone and quashed China’s historic-rights claim.

“We have very high hopes that the appraisal wells that will be drilled into Sampaguita’s world-class hydrocarbon deposits will successfully flow gas at rates deemed economically viable, just like the producing Malampaya field,” Pimentel said.

Under the law, Pimentel said “all of the government’s private petroleum service contractors, including Forum, are required to exert maximum efforts to discover and produce gas and/or oil as soon as possible.”

“We need Sampaguita developed right away to guarantee the country’s long-term energy security, considering that Malampaya will run out of gas by 2027,” Pimentel said.

The Forum has a 70-percent operating stake in Service Contract 72, which includes the Sampaguita gas find in the Recto Bank concession.

PXP Energy Corp., a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Investments Corp., effectively owns Forum. Both PXP and Metro Pacific are publicly traded entities on the Philippine Stock Exchange.

Forum is projected to spend up to $3 billion (P150 billion) to develop Sampaguita, according to London-based Edison Investment Research Ltd.





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