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PXP Energy Corp. is pursuing other projects after exploration activities for petroleum service contracts (SC)—SC 72 and SC 75 blocks in the West Philippine Sea—were suspended.

PXP is the operator under Service Contract (SC) 75 and Forum Ltd. is the operator under SC 72.

PXP President Daniel Stephen Carlos said during the company’s annual meeting that Forum plans to start this year the preparations for drilling programs for two onshore wells under SC 40-North Cebu.

“One of the proposed wells, Dalingding 2, will test the Dalingding prospect with the Barili Limestone, a proven gas reservoir in the northern Cebu area as the primary target,” said Carlos.

For SC 74, PXP had just commenced an independent technical evaluation and resource estimation of the Linapacan A&B discoveries. Carlos said this includes assessing the viability of a joint development of the Linapacan B field and West Linapacan A&B fields located in the adjacent SC 14C-2 or the West Linapacan block where Forum is also a consortium member.

PXP currently has two pending SC applications with the Department of Energy (DOE).

The first block is a nominated area, which is adjacent to SC 72 (Block A North Recto Bank).

“Once awarded, the company plans to acquire 2D seismic data along with marine gravity and magnetic data,” said the PXP official.

The second block is Area 7 located in the Sandakan basin in the Sulu Sea, which was offered by the DOE in a bidding round in 2019. Carlos said the reprocessing of the 3D seismic data will be the initial work program upon the award of the contract.

Last April, the DOE told PXP to suspend all exploration activities for SCs 72 and 75 until the issuance of the “necessary clearance to proceed.”

The clearance must be issued by the Security, Justice and Peace Coordinating Cluster (SJPCC), which is composed of the Departments of the Interior and Local Government, Foreign Affairs, National Defense, Justice, and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process with the National Security Council as secretariat.

“Moving forward, we remain hopeful that the work suspension imposed last April in our two SCs will be temporary so that we can resume with our exploration work. We will continue to coordinate with the DOE on this, especially in light of the incoming administration,” Carlos said.

PXP, he added, is “one with the government” in its efforts to develop indigenous petroleum resources in the country considering the expected decline in Malampaya gas production in the next few years and the current spike in oil prices as the world slowly recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We aim to enhance the company’s value through the acquisition of new prospective areas and we’ll likewise remain open to evaluate the other opportunities in the region,” added Carlos.

PXP holds a 50-percent interest in SC 75. Forum Energy, in which PXP holds a direct and indirect interest of 79.13 percent, has a 70 percent participating interest in SC 72 through its wholly owned subsidiary Forum. PXP has a total economic interest of 54.36 percent in SC 72.