A Chinese firm is preparing to exploit huge reserves of gas and oil found off the coast of Alegria, Cebu.
The news has been welcomed by town mayor Verna Magallon, who said the discovery would help improve the local economy and create jobs.
“This would give the town additional income that can be used to improve our social services and for implementation of other projects, especially for livelihood of our constituents,” she said.
This week, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi confirmed that the Alegria Oil Field had “commercial quantities” of natural gas and oil that could remain productive until 2037.
Cusi made the pronouncement after a ceremonial signing of a “joint declaration of commerciality” between the DOE and China International Mining Petroleum Company (CIMP).
The DOE said exploration by CIMP started at the site in 2009. The probe identified an estimated 27.93 million barrels of oil, of which about 12 per cent is readily recoverable.
For natural gas, about 9.42 billion cubic feet reserves were found, with the recoverable resource estimated at about 70 per cent.
Aside from additional income from the extracted resources, Magallon said the operation — including an oil refinery and power plant — would create a bonanza of jobs and opportunities for her constituents.
“We have held talks with the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines because they are interested to see the construction of a power plant to directly feed the production of energy to their grid,” she added.
However, before work can get underway, CIMP will need to secure an environmental compliance certificate and environmental impact assessment study from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Only then could CIMP return to the DOE to secure the necessary extraction permits. CIMP would also need permits for transport, storage and refining of their produce.
The company is a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Polyard Petroleum International Group.
Earlier this month, we reported that the Philippines is working with another Chinese firm to launch joint oil explorations in the South China Sea, including in two contested areas.
The town of Alegria is a fourth class municipality, which is located about 70 miles from Cebu City. It is renowned for its natural beauty, particularly its nearby waterfalls.