MVP Looking for a Technical Partner to Explore Resources in the West Philippine Sea

Tycoon Manuel V. Pangilinan needs a technical partner to proceed with the exploration for oil and gas in the West Philippine Sea. Pangilinan leads the consortium for Service Contract 72.

In an interview with Philippine Star, Panilinan said talks with China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) have not progressed, which is why he is now in need of a new technical partner. 

“We are already three (in the consortium) but there could be a fourth partner. We need a technical partner to develop the gas field,” Pangilinan said.

Service Contract 72

“Service Contract 72” refers to an area in the West Philippine Sea that the Philippine government has granted permission to the consortium to explore for resources. It is located in Recto Bank Basin, west of Palawan Island.

It can be remembered in 2011, China had prevented the Philippines from exploring Recto Bank Basin. It prompted then President Noynoy Aquino during his State of the Nation Address to emphasize the country’s claim on it: “Malinaw ang pahiwatig natin ngayon sa buong mundo: Ang sa Pilipinas ay sa Pilipinas. Kapag tumapak ka sa Recto Bank, para ka na ring tumapak sa Recto Avenue,” said Aquino. 

(“Our message to the word is clear: What’s for the Philippines is for the Philippines. If you step foot on Recto Bank, it’s like stepping foot on Recto Avenue.”)

In 2020, the Pangilinan-led PXP Energy submitted a revised work plan to the Department of Energy to explore for oil and gas in the West Philippine Sea after the government lifted the moratorium on drilling activities in the area. 


The consortium for Service Contract 72 is composed of Monte Oro Resources, which holds a 30 percent direct participating interest, and Forum Energy Ltd., which holds the remaining 70 percent participating interest through its subsidiary, Forum (GSEC 101) Ltd.

Roberto Ongpin holds a 20  percent stake in Forum Energy and Monte Oro Resources, making him a stakeholder in the consortium. 

PXP Energy Corporation is an upstream oil and gas company incorporated in the Philippines in December 2007. Among its major subsidiaries are Forum Energy and Pitkin Petroleum. 

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor-at-Large
Mario Alvaro Limos is features editor-at-large at Esquire Philippines, and heads the Lifestyle and Esports content of as its section editor. Email him at [email protected] and [email protected]
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