Senator Win Gatchalian has filed a Senate resolution seeking to establish the oil and gas potential in the West Philippine Sea to address the country’s import dependence for its energy requirements.
The Senate inquiry is intended to push exploration, development, and utilization of such oil and gas reserves toward achieving energy security and self-sufficiency.
“Given persistent global energy shocks, it is important for us to ascertain the oil and gas potential in the West Philippine Sea for the country to have some level of stability and protection from the tumultuous geopolitical conflict in foreign countries that has severely impacted local energy prices,” Gatchalian said.
Data from the Department of Energy (DOE) show that there is an estimated 6,203 million barrels of total oil resources and 12,158 billion cubic feet of total gas resources in the West Philippine Sea as of 2021.
Currently, there are five petroleum service contracts in the West Philippine Sea. These are Service Contract 54 held by Nido Petroleum Philippines Pty Ltd. in Offshore Northwest Palawan, Service contract 58 held by Nido Petroleum in West Calamian or Northwest Palawan, Service Contract 59 held by the Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corp. in Southwest Palawan, Service Contract 72 held by Forum (GSEC101) Ltd in Recto Bank, and Service Contract 75 held by PXP Energy Corp. in Northwest Palawan.
“The lack of oil and gas exploration and as a result of the lack of indigenous oil and gas have contributed to the country’s import dependence with 98% of petroleum products imported as of 2021 and lack of energy self-sufficiency,” Gatchalian noted. In fact, the country’s energy self-sufficiency has gone down from 61.4% in 2011 to 51.15% in 2021, he added.
According to Gatchalian, the adverse effect of dependence on imported fuel was felt recently with the Russian invasion of Ukraine raising global crude oil prices from $50/barrel in January 2021 to USD120/barrel in March 2022. This has resulted in an increase in the pump prices of gasoline from PHP50/liter to almost PHP90/liter in June 2022.