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Oil Exploration is Alive

Dead markets see new life as high prices continue to drive...

The high prices of oil in the world market and advanced seismic technology are driving oil exploration companies to try their luck in countries such as the Philippines. The success of the Malampaya oil and gas discovery field may be hard to duplicate, but the high prices of crude oil have changed the economics of oil and gas prospecting.

Advanced technology, particularly in drilling deepwater areas, have changed the perspective of oil exploration companies. Fields once seen as too expensive to drill are now going back on the auction floor.

The Philippine Department of Energy said at least 14 companies have expressed keen interest to participate in the oil licensing round on March 2. These include US-based Chevron Texaco, Australia's BHP Billiton, France's Total, Malaysia's Genting Oil, PetroVietnam, Amerada Hess Corp., "balikbayan" Occidental Petroleum Corp., Marathon Oil Corp., Hunt Oil Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp.

Local oil exploration firms like Oriental Petroleum and Mineral Resources Corp., Sinophil Corp. and Philodrill Corp., which have been moribund for some time, are expected to team up with these foreign companies in several consortia.