Did you know that they have struck oil in the Philippines? It’s true, it happened 11 days ago, in an area west of Palawan Island. Currently, they are pumping between 18-20,000 barrels per day of what they are calling Palawan Light Crude. As far as I know, this was the first attempt at oil exploration in the Philippines, and it’s a success! Twenty thousand barrels per day is not a huge amount of oil, based on worldwide standards, but this is the first attempt at pumping oil in the Philippines, and that amount is nothing to sneeze at either!
Over the years, there has always been speculation that the Spratley Islands has oil reserves, but since the Spratleys have always been in contention between a number of countries, so far, nobody has even attempted to exploit the reserves there. For those of you who don’t know, the Spratleys are a group of over 100 islands, islets and reefs that are west of Palawan, and are currently claimed by The Philippines, China, Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia. From time to time, each of these countries places a contingent of military troops on the islands to push it’s claim of soveriegnty. But, so far, nobody has been able to take sole control of the Spratleys. By the way, the Philippines calls the Island group the “Scarorough Reef.”
But the Philippines is not drilling in the disputed area, it is actually just drilling within undisputed Philippine waters, in that general area. Right now, the goal of the Philippine government is to become 60% energy independent by the end of 2010. Imagine, if things like wind power, solar and hydro power were added to the mix, I firmly believe that the Philippines cold be at least 80% energy independent within 5 to 10 years (provided that the oil fields continue production over this amount of time).
In addition to the current oil production, and the Spratley Islands possible future production, ExxonMobil is expected to start doing some drilling in the Southern Philippines by mid-2009 as well, although I do not know the exact location.
One thing that kind of surprises me is that this discovery of oil, and the ongoing production seems to be rather low-profile! It would seem that the Philippines would be playing this up and “making hay” with it. Good publicity is always a good thing, and it would seem that the country could really get some good publicity from this event.
The first shipment of oil from Palawan is expected in Manila in the first week of November. Perhaps when it is delivered there will be a big publicity event. I would imagine that the President will be there to meet the first oil tanker arriving in the Nation’s Capital. Wouldn’t you if you were President?
With these kinds of activities already becoming an reality, can you foresee the day when the Philippines could become an oil exporting country? Can you imagine the Philippines actually becoming a wealthy nation? How would that affect your plans to live here? It would make the place an expensive part of the world to live in. Personally, I don’t think that will happen, but with the current success near Palawan, I am quite excited that the Philippines could be looking at a real plus for it’s economy, and a success, which is something that is rare here, it seems.