Millions or Billions of Oil in Philippines Untapped

This is the official statement from Bayan Muna.

Saying it was a “tragic and painful irony that our people are suffering from high oil prices when millions of barrels of oil are beneath our feet waiting to be tapped,” Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño today said the government should take steps to wrest control over these oil fields from foreign companies who are not interested in developing them.

Casiño said that in 2006, the country’s proven oil reserves were approximately at least 138M barrels, to include the 30-40M barrels in the Malampaya oil fields, 10-20M barrels in the Galoc oil fields, and 158M barrels in the West Linapacan A and B oil fields all in Palawan. This does not include potential oil reserves in Mindanao, Mindoro, the Visayan Sea and the Spratlys.

Moreover, the country has 3.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in Malampaya, 260M tons of coal, and unlimited renewable energy sources ranging from solar, wind, and water.

Your browser may not support display of this image. “Despite such rich oil and energy resources, we suffer the highest electricity rates in Asia and import more than 90% of our oil requirements. This is one of the biggest failures in policy that has kept the country from developing into a prosperous, industrialized economy,” Casiño said.

The lawmaker said the problem lay in that the said resources are now in the hands of foreign corporations who are not interested in developing the oil and energy industry in the Philippines because it would compete with their own operations abroad.

“Look at Shell and Chevron, who control Malampaya. Why would they want to mine oil in Malampaya when they already sell us their oil coming from the Middle East?” Casiño asked.

He said one of the reasons why compressed natural gas (CNG) was not being fully utilized in the transport sector “is because Shell and Chevron also sell us gasoline and diesel. No wonder we don’t see the proliferation of CNG refilling stations.”

“What’s worse, when they sell CNG to us, its at world market prices even if the gas is produced right here at home. Para tayong niluluto sa sarili nating panggatong,” he lamented.

Casiño, along with six other party-list legislators, filed last Wednesday House Bill No. 3455 titled An Act Regulating the Downstream Petroleum Industry, Repealing RA No. 8479 or the Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act of 1998, and for Other Purposes that aims to regulate and stabilize oil prices, centralize the procurement of oil and petroleum products, and bring back government participation in the oil industry through the buy-back of Petron Corporation.

“Hopefully, HB 3455 will be the first step in our asserting sovereignty over our oil industry. This is the best and most effective way to ensure that our people are provided adequate and affordable oil and power, leading to the development of modern agriculture and industry,” he stressed.

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