Is China after the Philippines' oil & gas fields?

Posted at 05/01/2012 7:42 PM

(Editor's intro: Raissa, foreign correspondent for South China Morning Post and Radio Netherlands, is an independent blogger.)

Filipinos groaning from high power bills might have good reason to be concerned about China’s claims in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Philippine government officials have expressed apprehension that China may be after the oil and gas-rich areas there, including the Sampaguita gas field recently discovered by an oil exploration firm under contract with the Philippine government.

Philippine officials are concerned because the country’s energy future is at stake.

Department of Energy Undersecretary Jose Layug Jr said in a recent media briefing, which I attended, that “the Malampaya (gas) reservoirs are good until 2024″ or only for the next 12 years.

Malampaya gas now provides 40% of the power requirements of Luzon where most of the country’s economic activities are located.

The gas is currently being piped to three power plants in Batangas which produce a combined 2,700 megawatts.

Philippines’ biggest gas find