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NEWS UPDATES 7 October 2009

Australian firm to explore gas in Philippines

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Australia’s Nido Petroleum Ltd signed an agreement with a Southeast Asian national oil company for a joint study on the Philippines’ oil and gas prospects, the Manila Times reported.

In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange, Jocot de Dios, Nido president and chief executive officer, said the company entered into a joint study initiative with an undisclosed state oil firm from the region. The study aims to review the basins of the Philippines for their oil and gas potential.

“The project will commence in October 2009 with Phase 1 running through to the end of the year,” he said.

Nido is an oil and gas company with over 2,945,000 hectares (29,450 square kilometers) of exploration and development assets in Northwest Palawan Basin in the Philippines. The company’s offshore hectarage is one of the largest in the country.

Phase 2 of the Nido-led study will commence depending on the results of the initial study. But the company and its partner aim to conduct the second part of the study up to the end of March next year.

The study is expected to spur interest in the local upstream oil and gas industry, which received a fresh shot in the arm following the entry of ExxonMobil and BHP Billiton as well as additional investment by Royal Dutch Shell.

The government is tapping private capital to develop the country’s petroleum and natural gas industry, which has been lagging behind its peers in the region such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

De Dios said that Nido, which controls a stake in at least five exploration blocks in the country, continues to draw interest from potential partners abroad especially as world markets have begun to stabilize.

“The mood seems to be guardedly optimistic and there appears to have returned a sense of calm to world markets. As we continue to entertain interest from potential partners for our current blocks, this returning confidence, albeit cautious, is making companies including Nido see a clearer way forward for next year,” he added.

Nido’s core production asset includes a 22.88-percent interest in the Galoc oil field. Galoc lies within service contract 14. The field, which started operations in October 2008, has been producing between 10,000 and 15,000 barrels of oil.


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