China to advance bulk of $7.5B cost of West PH Sea exploration venture to get 40% stake
A congressman is claiming that the Philippines is counting on China to advance the bulk of the estimated $7.5 billion cost of a new natural gas project in the West Philippine Sea .
“This is the reason why we are bringing the Chinese in – for them to shoulder the cost – because we simply do not have the wherewithal to develop a second deep-water gas field there,” said Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza in a statement.
“Everybody is convinced that we have vast gas deposits in the West Philippine Sea Basin. The only problem is where to drill the wells precisely in order to hit the biggest reservoir,” he added.
President Duterte earlier proposed a “60-40” sharing deal with China as the two countries began crafting a cooperation framework to jointly search for oil and gas in the West Philippine Sea.
“There’s nothing wrong with giving the Chinese a 40-percent share, especially if they will advance the full cost of the project,” Atienza said.
“In fact, we gave the Dutch and the British 45 percent, and the Americans another 45 percent in Malampaya,” Atienza said, referring to the country’s first offshore gas project located some 65 kilometers northwest of Palawan.
Royal Dutch Shell plc and Chevron Corp. each effectively have a 45 percent stake in Malampaya, with the Philippine National Oil Corp. keeping 10 percent.
Malampaya’s gas deposits were originally projected to last only until 2024, but in December last year Shell said the reserves could actually last until 2028.