Group Ready to Start Sulu Sea Drilling

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The Department of Energy (DoE) announced the start of exploration for hydrocarbons in the South Sulu Sea under DoE’s Service Contract 56 (SC-56) with the arrival Friday of the drill rig, West Aquarius.The SC-56 contractors are ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Philippines B.V. [ExxonMobil], Mitra Energy (Philippines SC-56) Limited [Mitra] and BHP Billiton (International Exploration Pty Ltd) [BHP Billiton]. ExxonMobil is the operator of SC-56.The DoE said West Aquarius, a semi-submersible rig designed to operate in the water depths of up to 3,000 meters and drill up to a maximum depth of approximately 10,000 meters, leaves Indonesia for the South Sulu Sea project.The deep water exploration well, Dabakan – 1 will be drilled in 1,800 meters of water, a record for the Philippines.Similar to other exploration projects, discovering gas and oil under the SC-56 is very challenging with uncertain results.The DoE said it is very pleased to have ExxonMobil, the world's largest publicly traded international oil and gas company, and BHP Billiton, the world’s largest integrated resources company, recognize the potential of the Philippines oil and gas sector and bring their technical and financial strengths to bear on this complex project.SC-56 is 900 kilometers southwest from Manila, 200 kilometers northwest from the Bongao Municipality and 65 kilometers from the Municipality of Mapun in the Province of Tawi-Tawi in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).Service Contract 56 in the South Sulu Sea is expected to have a potential reserve of 750 million barrels oil—enough to cover the country’s daily consumption of 275,000 barrels per day in seven years.This estimate was made by Exxon Mobil Corporation, the world’s largest oil and gas exploration company, which is the operator of SC-56. …