Forum Exploration Beings Drilling in North Cebu

Forum Exploration has started drilling three exploratory wells under Service Contract No. 40 covering North Cebu. According to the Philippine Department of Energy, this is the first drilling activity this year. Forum will test the Maya Prospect which is a small anticlinal structure. The main reservoir target is the Maingit sandstone. The wells are scheduled to be drilled to a depth of 1, 000 feet.

Maya prospect was first discovered in 1961 by Mobil and American Asiatic Oil Co. It flowed around 540 barrels of oil in eight days during the well testing. The new drilling activities will confirm if the petroleum reserves are of commercial quantity.

Forum is also reassessing the Libertad gas prospect in Libertad, Bogo, Cebu for possible commercial development. In 1994-95, the firm drilled five exploratory wells in Libertad for gas exploration. At that time one of the wells flowed about 8 to 9 million cubic feet of natural gas per day during the well testing operations.

Recently, the DOE has issued Department Circular 2003-05-005 promulgating the procedures for public contracting rounds in petroleum prospective areas. The department said it reorganizes its petroleum exploration development program to attract investors, foreign and local, to oil and gas exploration activities. The Philippine Petroleum Resource Assessment Project shows that the Philippines is richly endowed with 16 petroleum basins covering an area of more than 700,000 sq km, thus making the country a promising site for renewed petroleum exploration in Asia.

The 16 identified petroleum basins are Northwest Palawan, Southwest Palawan, Central Luzon, Visayas, Mindoro-Cuyo, Cagayan, East Palawan, Southeast Luzon, Reed Bank, Cotabato, Agusan-Davao, Sulu Sea, West Luzon, Ilocos, Bicol Shelf, and Iloilo-West Masbate. Qualitative and quantitative assessment disclosed that the country's total petroleum resources -- oil, natural gas and condensate -- total to about 8.895 billion barrels of oil equivalent.