Philippine energy official said on Wednesday may resume drilling oil and natural gas on the Reed Bank in the South China Sea before the end of the year, as the government prepares to offer new blocks to investors in bidding in December.
Reuters report that the Philippines was suspended exploration at the Reed Bank, in late 2014, as it pursued international arbitration over territorial disputes. China, however, claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea.
Ismael Ocampo, director at the Department of Energy’s Resource Development Bureau, told reporters the agency expected the suspension to be lifted in December.
President Rodrigo Duterte, has said he would raise the landmark ruling with China eventually, but he first needed to strengthen relations between the two countries.
In March PXP Energy Corp`s exploration project at Reed Bank would resume, citing the warming ties with China, according to PXP Energy Chairman Manuel Pangilinan.
More than two dozen oil, gas and coal blocks, including additional areas in disputed waters, may be offered during the December bidding, Ocampo said.