The Philippines allows oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea

19 Oct 2020

The government of the Philippines has lifted the suspension of oil and gas activities and authorised the resumption of hydrocarbon exploration in the South China Sea. The Philippines Department of Energy issued a "resume-to-work" notice to the service contractors active in the areas of SC 59 and 72, operated by the PNOC Exploration Corporation, the upstream subsidiary of the state-owned Philippine National Oil Company, and SC 75, controlled by PXP Energy. The activities there were suspended in 2014, due to the territorial dispute with China.

The country, which is currently negotiating with China and the China National Offshore Corporation, intends to attract foreign direct investments in a bid to boost economic recovery following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, due to the depletion of the Malampaya offshore gas field, near the western Philippine province of Palawan, the government seeks to ensure continuity of domestic resources in the country.

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