A natural gas field in Santiago City, Isabela may contain up to 20 billion cubic feet of the fuel, based on rough estimates, a source said Wednesday.
The onshore Mangosteen prospect in Santiago City under Service Contract 37 is being explored by PNOC Exploration Corp., a unit of state-owned Philippine National Oil Co., which reported the discovery on June 29.
A source privy to the gas discovery told reporters the 20 billion cubic feet was a “rough estimate” and “more tests were needed to determine its commerciality.”
The source said the Energy Department and PNOC Exploration would issue a declaration of commerciality once the reserves were confirmed.
“It’s a gas discovery but more tests are needed to determine commerciality,” the source said.
PNOC Exploration president Pedro Aquino Jr. earlier said the government was hoping to find enough gas in SC 37 that could power a 100-megawatt natural gas power plant.
PNOC Exploration started exploratory drilling in SC 37 this year, he said.
“We will drill SC 37 [this year]…Most probably this is a gas prone area. If we find gas, we will probably put up a natural gas-fired power plant,” Aquino said.
PNOC Exploration last year sought bids for the provision of drilling rig services for the onshore drilling of SC 37 with a budget of P80 million.
PNOC Exploration’s board had approved the drilling of the Mangosteen prospect in SC 37 since 2012.
The company currently holds 100 percent of SC 37 which covers 360 square kilometers of Cagayan Basin (Santiago City, Isabela and Quirino provinces).
The Energy Department awarded SC 37 to PNOC Exploration on July 18, 1990.
PNOC Exploration was seeking partners to take in 70 percent in SC 37. The company previously operated the San Antonio gas field under SC 37 that produced 3.54 billion cubic feet of gas supplying the 3-MW San Antonio bas power plant, which generated electricity for about 10,000 households in the towns of Echague, Jones, San Agustin and Santiago City.
The company decommissioned the San Antonio gas plant in 2008 after pressure from the gas well dropped below the required inlet pressure. This means the well could no longer supply the right amount of gas to keep the power plant running.