Petronas-PNOC oil search queried

A counsel of a direct descendant of the Sultanate of Sulu sought yesterday a review of the oil exploration deal of the Philippine National Oil Corporation and the Malaysian state-run Petronas particularly its impact on the $14.9-billion award of a French arbitral court.

Lawyer Rexie Efren Bugaring, legal counsel of one of the Sultanate heirs told the Daily Tribune that the exploration deal could work to the disadvantage of the Filipino people because Petronas assets locally may be subject to seizure proceedings.

Although his client is not among the eight claimants, he said that legal action based on the French arbitral award can be initiated.

“With the seizure of Petronas assets in Luxembourg, the government must revisit the agreement and possibly suspend the ongoing oil exploration,” Bugaring said.

Petronas and the Philippine National Oil Company has an ongoing offshore drilling venture in Mindoro, a top energy official reported recently.

Bugaring said in conjunction with the report of PNOC, the Governance Commission for Government Owned and controlled corporations may review the exploration deal.

“Chairperson Alex Quiroz of the GOCC body must revisit the PNOC agreement with Malaysia to determine its status,“ he said.

Foreign tie-ups eyed

PNOC president and chief executive officer Pedro Aquino Jr., in a report to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos and Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla said the search for oil continues in tie-ups with partners from China, Vietnam and Malaysia.

“Ongoing is the joint partnership with Petronas of Malaysia for Offshore Mindoro SC 47, and necessary fieldwork for the Ragay Gulf Project,” he said.

He said collaborative efforts produced the Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking with China National Offshore Oil Corporation and Vietnam Oil and Gas Corporation in 2005, to assess petroleum resource potential areas in the South China Sea.

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