Gatchalian files resolution seeking to unlock gas potential in West PH Sea
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Win Gatchalian has filed a Senate resolution seeking to unlock the gas potential of the West Philippine Sea to address the country’s import dependence for its energy requirements.
According to Gatchalian in a statement, the goal of the Senate inquiry is to encourage the exploration, exploitation, and use of these oil and gas reserves in order to achieve energy security and self-sufficiency.
“Given persistent global energy shocks, it is important for us to ascertain the oil and gas potential in the West Philippine Sea for the country to have some level of stability and protection from the tumultuous geopolitical conflict in foreign countries that has severely impacted local energy prices,” Gatchalian said.
Citing data from the Department of Energy (DOE) Gatchalian also said that there are an estimated 6,203 million barrels of total oil resources and 12,158 billion cubic feet of total gas resources in the West Philippine Sea as of 2021.
Meanwhile, there are only five petroleum service contracts in the West Philippine Sea.
“The lack of oil and gas exploration and as a result of the lack of indigenous oil and gas have contributed to the country’s import dependence with 98% of petroleum products imported as of 2021 and lack of energy self-sufficiency,” Gatchalian noted.
Because of this, Gatchalian added that the country’s energy self-sufficiency has gone down from 61.4 percent in 2011 to 51.15 percent in 2021.
Furthermore, Gatchalian pointed out an increase in the pump prices of gasoline from P50 per liter to almost P90 per liter iter in June 2022 due to the dependence of the country on imported fuel.
It can be recalled that Senator Robinhood Padilla earlier made a similar resolution but instead urged President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to resume joint oil exploration between the Philippines and China in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), after former President Rodrigo Duterte ordered it to be completely terminated days before his term ended.
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