“We are open to all nationalities na mag-apply for service contracts at the West Philippine Sea,” Cusi said.
Cusi, however, emphasized that the lifting of a 6-year old ban on oil exploration in the hotly disputed West Philippine Sea would not weaken the country’s maritime claims against China.
He said the lifting would help the Philippines attract foreign investments while ensuring the long-term supply of oil.
“In fact, we just had the first round of the PCECP or what we call the Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program na mayroon doon ang mga nominated areas and iyong identified areas already, pre-determined areas,” he said.
Three groups are set to resume oil exploration in the resource-rich West Philippine Sea. These include telco magnate Manny V. Pangilinan’s PXP Energy and UK-based Forum Energy Ltd., which holds a 70% economic interest in Service Contract 72 which is located offshore West Palawan.
PXP, on the other hand, owns 79% of Forum Energy.