PH approves extension of exploration permit in Reed Bank, China says it’s illegal

The Philippines approved the extension of Forum Energy Plc’s permit for its oil and gas exploration project in Reed Bank known by Chinese as Liyue Bank.

“We will grant it – we don’t have any reason not to grant it. They will not request if they are not confident that they will drill,” Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla said earlier.

The said company is set to start drilling plans in two wells at Sampaguita acreage in Reed Bank amid China’s claim early 2016, extension was made until August 15, 2016 under Service Contract 72 exploration permit.

Manny Pangilinan’s Philex Petroleum Corp has 60.45 percent stake in Forum Energy Plc.

Data submitted to the DOE shows it may potentially surpass the output of the Malampaya gas field.

China is fast to react with the said extension. “Without permission from China, oil and gas exploration by any foreign companies in waters under China’s jurisdiction is illegal and invalid,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei said.

China’s claim over the Spratly Islands and adjacent waters hindered Forum’s plan to drill two more appraisal wells under the said exploration permit awarded by the government in 2010.

In 2011, Chinese patrol vessels almost rammed a survey ship contracted by Philex under Forum in Reed Bank.

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