[Trending Now] MUST READ: PH Agreed to Explore Oil in West Philippine Sea with China!
The Duterte administration will finalize a deal with China that would allow the country to have a joint oil exploration in the disputed ...
The Duterte administration will finalize a deal with China that would allow the country to have a joint oil exploration in the disputed areas of West Philippine Sea.
Philippine Daily Inquirer learned that Duterte administration officials were in talks with China to finalize a deal that could see both governments work hand in hand to find oil or natural gas.
“What we are looking at is a deal that will first cover exploration activities in uncontested areas,” said an administration official who chose not to reveal his identity.
Asked about which potential areas would be considered uncontested given that China’s territorial claim encompasses most of the South China Sea, the anonymous source said that these may be “areas closer to the Philippines, including Recto Bank,” that are firmly under the Philippine government’s control.
Known internationally as Reed Bank, the Recto Bank is owned by Forum Energy Plc. for Service Contract 72, which covers Recto Bank.
In addition, the company is a subsidiary of Manuel Pangilinan-led Philex Petroleum Corp.
Is it going to cause issues about sovereignty?
Victor Manhit, managing director of Stratbase consultancy firm said the commercial energy deals will sidestep sensitive sovereignty issues.
“We have to be careful because sovereignty is a nonnegotiable,” he said. “It would open a lot of doors [to other potential claimants] if we give in.”
Manhit added that current talks between the Philippine and the Chinese governments would reveal the true nature of China’s intentions toward the Philippines.
“This is a test to see if they are really our friends, or just bullying us,” he said.