A consortium of five foreign firms will start drilling natural gas in the southern part of Mindoro Island in the second quarter of next year, the Department of Energy said.
Huge oil and gas seeps were indicated on Mindoro Island adjacent to the Palawan Basin, which hosts all the producing oil and gas wells in the Philippines.
Drilling is scheduled at Roxas, Mansalay, and Bulalacao, in Oriental Mindoro, and Magsaysay, San Jose, and Sablayan, in Occidental Mindoro.
"Operations will begin shortly," according to the United Kingdom-based Pitkin Petroleum (Philippines) Plc, main operator of Service Contract 53, which was approved by the DoE on July 8, 2005 in favor of a consortium of Pitkin, Resource Management Association (Hongkong) Ltd., The Philodrill Corp., Anglo-Philippine Holdings Corp., and Basic Energy Corp.
DoE Undersecretary Jose Layug was please over the prospects in Mindoro.
"The service contract area coverage is 724,000 hectares," he said. "The exploration period covers seven years (started in 2005) with different sub-phases."
Pitkin Petroleum said "numerous onshore oil and gas seeps plus two gas discoveries are located in the contract area and more than 15 prospective structures with individual areas of closure of between seven and 65 square kilometers have been identified from previous work."
The firm has a participating interest of 70 percent in the block, with the remaining 30 percent held by the Philodrill Corp. Basic Consolidated Inc. and Anglo-Philippine Holdings Corp.
Oriental Mindoro Congressman Rodolfo Valencia welcomed the move "considering the fact that it will bring economic boom to our province."
He said the National Grid and Transmission Corporation has approved the Batangas-Mindoro Submarine Interconnection Project worth P11 billion.
The underwater link aims to convey surplus electric power from Mindoro Grid to Luzon.
Layug said the agency is not only focusing its exploration works on the traditional energy sources, such as oil and gas, in Mindoro Island, but also on renewable sources of energy, such as geothermal, wind, and hydro power.
Last March, this year, President Benigno Aquino III led the switch-on ceremony of the island's first hydro-power plant in Bgy. Linaw-Kawayan, in San Teodoro municipality.
Now operational, the mini-hydro, with a construction cost of P405 million borrowed from the Development Bank of the Philippines, is capable of producing 4.5 megawatts of electricity.
The groundbreaking and construction of the country's second wind power projects, the province's second renewable energy project, was undertaken last September 7.
Situated on a 1,296-hectare mountain village overlooking the scenic beach resorts of the Verde Island Passage, the three-48-mw wind farm costs PhP6-billion.
The construction of the first phase, capable of generating 16 megawatts of electricity and costing P2 billion, will last in two years in 2014.
The first operating wind farm facility is in Bangui, Ilocos Norte, with 20 units of wind mills capable of generating 33 megawatts of electricity. Each unit stands 70-meter high, and blade diameter of 41 meters each.
The Bangui wind farm was originally designed to only produce clean electricity without emitting carbon, people call them as "giant electric fans" that have become a major tourist destination in Northern Luzon.
The Puerto Galera wind project is a component of the Power Development Program of Oriental Mindoro supported by the Provincial Development Council (PDC).
Manila Standard Today