MANILA, Philippines — ACE Enexor Inc., the listed oil and gas exploration and production unit of the Ayala Group, plans to firm up its partnership and 2022 drilling plan for Service Contract (SC) 55 offshore West Palawan within the first half of the year.
In a recent virtual briefing, ACE Enexor chairman Eric Francia said the partnership initiative is still ongoing, which is being done in parallel to finalizing drilling preparations.
“I think middle of this year will be a critical period because if we want to target drilling by first half or second quarter of 2022, then we need to firm up all of our plans by the second quarter [this year], ”he said.
Francia said the company – through subsidiary Palawan55 Exploration & Production Corp., which is the operator of SC 55 – aims to commence drilling of an appraisal well in the first half of 2022.
Last year, ACE Enexor announced the plan of the SC 55 consortium to drill an exploratory well in 2022.
This was announced as Palawan55 made the commitment to drill one exploratory well within the first two years after the Department of Energy (DOE) confirmed SC 55’s entry into the appraisal period.
In April last year, the DOE confirmed that the “Hawkeye-1 well encountered a significant volume of movable natural gas, deemed to be a non-associated gas discovery under Section 13.02 of SC 55.
Non-associated gas discovery means the reservoir contains only natural gas and no oil.
SC 55 was estimated to have some 2.2 trillion cubic feet of gas, the DOE said.
In particular, the Hawkeye well was believed to have an estimated 480 million barrels of oil identified on 2D seismic originally acquired by Otto in 2007 and further defined with the 600-km 3D seismic acquisition in late 2009.
Francia said ACE Enexor would focus all resources on SC 55. “That’s also part of the reason why we gave up the other contracts,” he said.
Late last month, the company withdrew from SC 6 in northwest Palawan.
SC 6 is divided into two blocks where ACE Enexor owns a 7.78 percent interest in Block A and 2.475 percent carried interest in Block B. SC 6 does not have any commercial operations.
In 2019, ACE Enexor – formerly Phinma Petroleum and Geothermal Inc. (PPGI) – exited from SC 69 in the Camotes Sea in Eastern Visayas following strong opposition from various stakeholders, including several local government units (LGUs) and non-government organizations (NGOs), to conduct petroleum exploration activities in the area.
Palawan55 holds a 75 percent interest in the gas prospect while the remaining 25 percent is under Pryce Gases Inc.
It is is 75 percent owned by ACE Enexor and 25 percent owned by AC Energy Philippines Inc.