MALAYSIAN  FIRM  PETRONAS  TO  DRILL  FOR  OIL  IN  ANTIQUE

ILOILO CITY, AUGUST 9, 2007
(STAR) By Ronilo Ladrido Pamonag – Malaysian oil exploration company Petronas is sending over its offshore oil rig to conduct drilling operations in Antique.

The drilling operation seeks to confirm the presence of oil deposits in commercial quantities in waters off Culasi town in the northern part of Antique.

The oil rig is set to arrive this month, Gov. Salvacion Perez said yesterday. The governor said she has disseminated this information among the residents of the area.

“The people might be shocked to see an oil rig,” she pointed out.

Perez said initial tests show the ‘positive’ presence of oil, meaning that the oil deposit is of such quantity as to be viable for commercial production. Petronas engineers initially estimated the volume to be 160 million barrels.

Next week, officials of Petronas will brief Perez and the town mayors about the status of the oil exploration in the province. Two high-ranking officials of the giant oil firm are already in Manila discussing matters with the Philippine National Oil Co.

The oil exploration is a joint undertaking of the PNOC and Petronas. Perez said Petronas and PNOC will shoulder 80 percent and 20 percent, respectively, of the exploration costs.

“We are excited, the National Government is excited about it because this is one of the biggest oil finds,” Perez expressed. “If indeed there is oil in the site, then Antique is a very lucky province.” She said that 160 million barrels of oil would mean a lot to the country.

“You can easily estimate how the province, the region and the whole country will benefit from this oil discovery,” she pointed out.

However, Perez stressed the need to know the impact on the environment. The area is situated near Boracay island, an internationally-known tourist destination in Aklan.

She said they will ask Petronas officials of the impact the digging operations would have on the environment.

Perez said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has issued a certificate of non-coverage to Petronas, adding that Petronas has complied with all the requirements.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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