DOE approves moratorium on Palawan petro drilling

by Myrna Velasco – June 18, 2016

from Manila Bulletin

The Department of Energy (DOE) has approved a two-year moratorium on a well drilling at Service Contract 55 (SC) petroleum block in southwest Palawan.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), interest-holder Trans-Asia Petroleum Corporation (TAPET) indicated that the effective date of the drilling moratorium had been December 23, 2015.

“During the moratorium period, the consortium will conduct specialized geophysical studies in the area surrounding the Hawkeye prospect which encountered gas shows when it was drilled last year,” the company said.

TAPET has 6.82-percent participating interest in SC 55. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corporation.

SC 55 operator, Australian firm Otto Energy Investments Ltd., formally applied last year with the energy department, for the two-year moratorium on its work program.

An exploratory well drilling was carried out at Hawkeye 55 prospect August last year, but the outcome failed to show potential for commercial-scale output.

The plummeting oil prices have also been tapering off interest in fresh round of petroleum exploration ventures.

However, the interest-holders in SC 55 have been seeing other advantages of the “low oil price regime”; primarily in possible lower cost of drilling rig contracts.

Beyond Hawkeye, the other main target for drilling at SC 55 is the Cinco well together with other prospects and leads.

As initially estimated, the prospective recoverable petroleum reserves in the block had been placed at 89 million barrels equivalent.

The SC 55 block lies “in the middle of a proven regional oil and gas fairway that extends from the productive Borneo offshore region in the southwest to the offshore Philippine production assets northwest of Palawan.”