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CHINA National Offshore Oil Corp. Ltd. (CNOOC) has said it was interested in exploring for oil in the Philippines, but denied that there are moves to drill for oil in the Malampaya gas fields off the western island of Palawan.

CHINA National Offshore Oil Corp. Ltd. (CNOOC) has said it was interested in exploring for oil in the Philippines, but denied that there are moves to drill for oil in the Malampaya gas fields off the western island of Palawan, the head of the state-run Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) said.

‘The Chinese are interested in exploring the Philippines, not necessarily Malampaya,’ said PNOC chief Eduardo Manalac in response to reports that CNOOC would drill in fields already rejected by a consortium that includes Shell and Chevron.

‘They are looking very closely at certain areas in northwest Palawan that they could possibly work on along with PNOC,’ said Manalac.

PNOC is a government-owned corporation in charge of energy exploration.

He said the Chinese firm had indicated interest in Malampaya before, but had not followed this up.

‘I would assume they are not that interested,’ he said.

CNOOC spokesman Xiao Zongwei denied that his company was eyeing Malampaya, saying: ‘I don’t know such a thing. I learned the news today from the media. I think they got it wrong.’

Manalac said he hoped CNOOC would announce its decision on drilling for oil northwest of Palawan in about a month.

A consortium led by Shell Philippines Exploration BV (SPEX), which includes Chevron Malampaya LLC and PNOC’s exploration unit, is the operator of the Malampaya natural gas reservoir.

However, the consortium decided not to drill for oil there, saying it is too expensive and insufficient quantities make it commercially unviable.

Source : money.inq7.net

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