Is the Philippines the future of Southeast Asia’s hydrocarbon industry?

The Philippines is looking to become a major oil producing nation on the back of new exploration efforts across the country.

The Philippines is one of the most dynamic economies in the Asia-Pacific region, and the oil and gas sector is one that is primed for further growth, especially for companies that are undertaking comprehensive IADC certification. While the country is currently a net importer of energy and lacks the established industry of regional players like Brunei, there is potential for the Philippines to become a significant oil and gas producer in its own right.

Although current price volatility in oil markets is putting some pressure on exploration efforts in untested exploration areas, new developments are providing an opportunity for this sector to expand in the Philippines.

New finds in Central Philippines

One of the most recent developments in the Philippines has been the announcement of a major find on the central island of Cebu. According to the Department of Energy, the Australian firm Gas2Grid made the discovery after being granted exploration rights in the area in 2004.

“We are pushing for indigenous energy resources to flourish.”

This new announcement allows the company to extend its contract in the region and expand from initial discovery work to the feasibility stage in order to determine whether the discovery is of a commercially viable quantity.

Filipino Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla, said the find is an exciting step in the development of the country’s oil and gas sector, one which may call for qualified workers in areas like well control.

“We are pushing for indigenous energy resources to flourish in order to lessen our dependence to the volatile international energy market,” explained Mr Petilla. “The discovery in the SC 44 is a boost to the country’s upstream industry, and we will provide the necessary support to advance its development.”

Onshore oil and gas exploration is increasing in the Philippines.
Onshore oil and gas exploration is increasing in the Philippines.

New commitment to investigating Filipino oil and gas potential

While the Philippines is continuing to attract interest from international oil and gas exploration firms, there is continued investment from the state-owned Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) and its exploration arm, the PNOC Exploration Corporation.

In a recent statement, PNOC Exploration’s President Pedro Aquino Jr outlined his plans for the business to counter the current downturn in oil and gas prices that are affecting the company’s holdings in north-west Palawan.

“We are currently experiencing some hiccups in our operations brought about by the sharp decline in the price of crude. But this does not deter us from pursuing our mandate to explore and develop new oil and gas sources,” he explained.

Given the potential that new areas like central Cebu hold for the Philippines, alongside established production areas in the Palawan basin, the future is looking bright for companies operating in the area.