Top management of Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. (SPEX), operator and developer of the Malampaya deep water gas-to-power project, said more effort should be put in oil exploration activities to ensure steady energy supply for the country in the future.
During the Energy Smart Philippines 2018 of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines on Thursday, SPEX Chief Financial Officer Lorelie Quiambao Osial said the local upstream industry has been on a steady decline in terms of exploration activities since 2010.
Quiambao Osial added that with sparse drilling activities, the Philippines is behind its Asian neighbors in finding new hydrocarbon reserves.
She cited reasons for the stunted oil exploration activities in recent years, which include lower world oil prices between 2010 and 2017 as well as geopolitical issues.
“[The] geopolitical issues that we are having [is] preventing exploration in the areas such as the West Philippine Sea,” she said.
The government also needs to be clear on the rules and respect the sanctity of contracts to encourage investors in oil exploration, so that enough power will be available to sustain economic growth.
“The country needs more Malampaya,” she said.
She added that another gas field in the country, complementing indigenous energy sources such as hydro, geothermal, solar, coal, and renewables, will lead to energy security.
It will also reduce the country’s dependence on importing coal and bunker fuel and will generate earnings from sales of condensate, a by-product of natural gas, Quiambao Osial noted.
Natural gas is also a cleaner source of power. It can also provide more jobs for Filipinos, the SPEX executive added.
Only last week, President Rodrigo Duterte signed an exploration deal with Israeli firm Ratio Petroleum Ltd.
The administration also eyes to ink partnership with the Chinese government for a joint gas exploration in the West Philippine Sea.
On the sidelines of the event, Quiambao Osial said once the talks on joint exploration in West Philippine Sea will be resolved, this will open up the industry to explore the area.