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June 14, 2008

ExxonMobil plans oil exploration project

US oil giant ExxonMobil plans to conduct exploratory operations in the Sulu Sea in the Philippines, AFP quoted company and government officials as saying Friday.

The company is evaluating seismic data taken from the project area, ExxonMobil Exploration Co. vice president Stephen Greenlee told reporters after calling on President Gloria Arroyo and Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes in Manila.

If the data is encouraging, the company would drill exploration wells from mid-2009, he added.

The Philippines now imports practically all of its oil requirements after some modest offshore deposits that were tapped during the 1970s energy crisis were exhausted.

"A drilling programme could cost over 100 million dollars for us to explore the potential," Greenlee said.

"If we're successful and we find what we hope to find, then the development of the site would (cost) several million dollars," he added.

Reyes said Greenlee's party "made a call on the President to give the good news that ExxonMobil is going to explore in the Sulu Sea."

He said "this is going to be a major milestone in the oil exploration and development efforts in the Philippines".

"ExxonMobil is the largest explorer and producer of gas in the world, they have the technical competence and financial muscle to undertake major oil exploration and production efforts," he added.

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