Duterte pushes joint exploration with China in West Philippine Sea, wants 2/3 share
President Rodrigo Duterte is pushing to strike a deal with China President Xi Jinping to explore the vast oil and gas reserves in the disputed waters of the West Philippine Sea but he wants the Philippines get a lion’s share of the output.
Duterte made the announcement a few days after the Philippines and China came to an agreement during their bilateral meeting on the West Philippine Sea last week where both parties reached an agreement to draft a legal framework to carry out the joint exploration of Recto Bank (Reed Bank).
Oil exploration in the Recto Bank, which is inside the 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, has been placed under a moratorium since 2014 due to the Aquino adminisration’s dispute with China.
In a speech before Filipino-Chinese businessmen and the Chinese ambassador Monday night, Duterte said: “And I told them (Chinese officials), in front of Cabinet members, General (Eduardo) Año, General (Delfin) Lorenzana, Secretary (Salvador) Medialdea. Sabi ko in a bilateral table,’I want you to know that I am going there to drill oil because that is ours’. Sabi ng China, ‘Well, we understand that we have this problem. But we do not think that it would be the right time now to talk about trouble. Maybe sometime. So good riddance.’ China now has offered to us for a joint exploration.”
“Kasi ‘yung oil — joint naman. ‘Yung oil mo dito mo ang pinakamarami. Two-third sa amin, one-third kayo, mayaman naman kayo eh,” said Duterte.
PXP Energy, chaired by Manuel Pangilinan, has a controlling stake in the Recto Bank project. The Recto Bank is being eyed as a replacement for the Malampaya oil and gas reserves.