PNOC-EC Exec: Data from Spratlys Oil, Gas Survey 'Encouraging'

MANILA Nov 28, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

A seismic survey jointly conducted by the Philippines, China and Vietnam to assess the potential oil an gas reserves in an area of the South China Sea including the disputed Spratlys Islands yielded "encouraging" results, prompting further exploration in the area, a Philippine executive said late Tuesday.

Jose Edilbert Corsame, media relations head of the Philippine National Oil Co.-Exploration Corp. (PEC.PH), didn't give further details of the survey of 11,022 line kilometers, saying only that another 11,300 line kilometers would be surveyed.

The Philippines' PNOC-EC has been conducting the survey with China National Offshore Oil Co. and Vietnam Oil and Gas Corp.

"The seismic vessel, Nan Hai 502, is currently in China for some repairs but will be back in the Agreement Area to resume the survey by December 2007 or January 2008," Corsame said.

Corsame forecast that this second phase of surveying would be completed in the first quarter of 2008, after which, data processing and interpretation would take at least a year to complete.

The announcement comes after Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao earlier this month discussed possible joint oil and gas development in the South China Sea.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said Wen expressed hope "the three countries would continue the cooperation on the developmental level."

But he said it is unclear whether the joint exploration will take place or how each country will share the development of the Spratlys.

The Spratlys are also claimed by Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

China and Vietnam, which have both built permanent structures in the Spratlys, clashed over the island group in 1988 and 1992.

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