Negotiations for possible joint development between Philippines and China still going on
MANILA – Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said there are negotiations between China and the Philippines for the possible joint development of oil and natural gas at Reed Bank also known as Recto Bank.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is leading the discussion. Let me be clear, under President Duterte’s administration, the moratorium on the exploration in the West Philippine Sea was lifted and when it was lifted (on October 15,2020) we began our exploration,” Secretary Cusi said when asked of the possibility of getting the joint development agreement signed.
He said they have been issuing invitations and had a road show inviting exploration companies to come to the Philippines and invest in the exploration activities.
“As we speak, there are four service contracts that are being processed and will be sent to Malacañang for President Duterte’s signature,” he further said. He added they are continuously working within the country’s exclusive economic zone.
Secretary Cusi sounded optimistic that the exploration activities will not be affected by the one hundred diplomatic protests filed by the Philippines for the continuous incursions by Chinese maritime militia and Chinese Coast Guard vessels into the country’s exclusive economic zone.
It was in 2018 when the Philippines and China begun their negotiations for joint exploration and development of energy resources in the disputed waters.
It will be recalled in a press briefing last October 15,2020, Secretary Cusi reported local companies are involved in three drilling projects off the western-most Philippine island in Palawan which by then could resume their exploration operations. (Melo M. Acuña)
Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi. (Screen grab from Malacañang Press Briefing at midday today. (PCOO/PTV4/Melo M. Acuna)