The ExxonMobil Corporation, the world's largest international oil and gas company, hit something in the deep waters of Tawi-tawi that could somehow ease the country’ s energy requirement.
Scott Spradlin, operations manager of ExxonMobil Exploration and Production of the Philippines, said in a press briefing here Thursday morning that they found hydrocarbon, which could either mean oil or gas, some 16,000 meters deep in the waters of Tawi-tawi.
“ We are still drilling to find out what we have. We have found enough to be interested in the area and so we are proceeding with our second well, ” Spradlin said.
The company has been drilling in Tawi-tawi for more than two years now. Its first drilling well is about 35 nautical miles from Mapun Island. Spradlin said the company has already spent about US$100 million in the first well.
But Spradlin said they could not provide conclusive data on the discovery. He also refused to say when the discovery was made.
“ It’ s a long, slow process,” he said.
Citing the Malampaya (Palawan) discovery, Spradlin said it would take eight to 10 years to determine and processing of hydrocarbon.
With the discovery, ExxonMobil sought a partnership with the Department of Energy to ensure the protection of its exploration in the area.
“ This is a good discovery for the Philippines and with it, more people will be interested in the area,” he said.
Maj. General Ben Dolorfino, the Western Mindanao Command chief, said the Department of Energy requested the defense department to provide security in the areas of exploration.
On Thursday morning, Dolorfino and Rear Admiral Alexander Pama, Naval Forces Western Mindanao commander, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the ExxonMobil to secure the exploration.
“ ExxonMobil shall provide support in kind to the Navy and rice subsidy for vessels and personnel detailed in the security activity,” Dolorfino said.
Pama said the Philippine Navy would provide one ship to help secure the exploration site.
“ We are sharing an equitable burden here, we cannot really say exactly how much,” Pama said when asked how much support it has been getting from ExxonMobil.