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25 June 2010

Philippine petroleum sector reviews safety

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A the flurry of exploration activity in the Philippines, the country’s upstream petroleum sector on Thursday said they would synchronize their safety and disaster-response measures in light of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in the US, according to the Manila Times.

During a stakeholders’ meeting, Energy Undersecretary Ramon Oca said the agency will study existing safety policies on oil and gas exploration to see if there will be a need for revisions.

“Policy recommendations are already in place. What we will do is revisit them if there is a need to amend, update or upgrade these policies and recommendations,” he said.

He said the government aims to prevent an incident like the Gulf of Mexico oil spill from occurring in the Philippines.

Eduardo Hernandez, Petroleum Association of the Philippines president, said oil companies are willing to cooperate with the government to avoid such spills.

“We will continue to submit the reports, they will continue to monitor on the basis of those reports and probably give us more information on what’s going on,” he said.

Philippine regulations mandate the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) as the lead government institution that would respond to oil spills. Petroleum companies, however, would shoulder the clean up operations and costs arising from ensuing damages to the environment and to livelihood.

Oca cited Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. (SPEX), which would start drilling activities in Service Contract (SC) 60 next month.

“Hopefully, they will be able to start another well there,” Oca said.

The exploration block covers an area of over one million hectares.

A joint study conducted by the Department of Energy and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation identified SC 60 as one the promising sites for petroleum exploration in the Philippines.

SC 60 is controlled by SPEX, which has a 55-percent interest in the block. Its partners include South China Resources Inc. and Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Co., which have 15 percent and 30 percent stakes in the project, respectively.

Oca said that SPEX would commence drilling operations in SC 60 once it concludes an ongoing drilling at SC 38.


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