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GENERAL SANTOS, Philippines – A Mindanao-based oil exploration company has commissioned its first drilling rig to develop the oil and gas-rich marshy areas along the Cotabato Basin.
The commissioning rite was held at the Sultan Kudarat capitol grounds on Saturday, March 4.
The firm, SK Liguasan Oil and Gas Corporation (SKLOGC), plans to develop identified drilling sites along Sultan Kudarat and the Liguasan Marsh, an area earlier found to have potential deposit that could match the volume of the depleting Malampaya field.
SKLOGC’s petroleum service contract with the Department of Energy (DOE) allows the company to develop a 72,000-hectare petroleum-prospective area in the onshore Cotabato Basin.
The company’s seven-year work program showed that SKLOGC will spend P1.9 billion for the drilling of its appraisal wells. If natural gas is found, they will build a modular power plant.
As a policy, DOE has required the company to test the gas pressure in the area for one year to determine commercial viability.
The Cotabato Basin spans a 1.2-million-hectare area across the provinces of Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, Cotabato, and South Cotabato.
Former Sultan Kudarat governors Pax Mangudadatu and son Suharto, who both laid the groundworks during their respective terms for the oil and gas exploration along the Sultan Kudarat area, led the commissioning rites.
The elder Mangudadatu said he was optimistic about the economic opportunities that will arise once gas production goes into full swing.
“Sultan Kudarat can be transformed like Dubai,” he said.
Suharto, whose son Pax Ali is now Sultan Kudarat’s governor, said there were plans to build an oil-gas pipeline from inland Lambayong town to the coastal town of Palimbang, where an oil refinery plant and a modern port will be built. The pipeline will link the drilling sites in Lambayong to Palimbang town.
He said they were now in talks for a possible partnership with a private oil giant for the projects.
Suharto, whose wife Mariam is also the governor of Maguindanao del Sur, said the revenue that can be generated could run to billions of pesos, and this would easily “help obliterate poverty in Maguindanao and in the Bangsamoro region.”
SKLOGC chief executive officer Noel Felicia said the 22 site prospects covered by the service contract include a dozen in Sultan Kudarat and 20 others in the Liguasan Marsh area.
The company found potential oil and gas deposits mostly in Lambayong town’s 27 villages. The exploration activities in the targeted potential sites had already been cleared by the host barangays in Lambayong.
Two barangays in the town – Bilumin (formerly Gansing) and Caridad – are known among petroleum explorers.
It was in Bilumin where foreign exploration firm Anglo-Marine Company drilled three wells – Gansing 1, Gansing 2, and Gansing 2A – from 1962 to 1972.
Felicia said they will hire technical experts to form teams of petroleum engineers, geologists, and mining engineers that they will deploy. Around 120 workers are needed for each well. – Rappler.com