Filipino-UK firm to drill for gas in disputed sea

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The chairman of a Philippines energy company says a Chinese state-owned oil producer hasn't responded to a proposal to jointly explore a disputed area of the South China Sea but drilling will go ahead by 2016 with or without a partnership.

Manuel Pangilinan said Friday that Filipino-British company Forum Energy PLC made the offer to China National Offshore Oil Corp. to explore Reed Bank, northwest of the Philippine island of Palawan. Philippine and Chinese vessels had a confrontation there three years ago.

Pangilinan said the Chinese company, also known as CNOOC, has not responded. He said the project has not attracted other investors because it is in an area of conflicting claims.

Pangilinan is chairman of Philex Petroleum Corp., majority owner of London-based Forum Energy.