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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        19  April 2011

Oil drilling starts in Leyte

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A group led by Australia’s Otto Energy Ltd. has begun drilling operations in onshore Northwest Leyte.

Ramon Oca, Department of Energy undersecretary, said the Service Contract (SC) 51 consortium commenced with the drilling of the first oil and gas exploratory well.

“The contract is onshore so the drilling cost is cheaper than offshore. They’re hoping to find oil. We’re hoping to see minimum, if positive, of 2 million barrels to as high as 18 million barrels,” he said.

SC 51 covers a 3,320 square kilometer area in parts of onshore Leyte as well as offshore Cebu and Bohol.

Oca said the SC 51 consortium began drilling at the Duhat-1 well in the exploration block at an estimated cost of US $5 million.

The drilling is estimated to take up to 25 days.

The exploration block is 80 percent owned by Otto Energy’s wholly owned subsidiary, NorAsian Energy Ltd.

Norasian Energy’s partners in the project are Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corp., Alcorn Gold Resources Corp. and Petroenergy Resources Corp.

Otto Energy announced in January that it executed a farm-out agreement with SWAN Oil and Gas Ltd., giving the latter its 80 percent stake in SC 51’s southern area in Cebu and Bohol, as well as a 40 percent share in the block’s northern portion that contains the Leyte exploration site.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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