MILF urges gov’t to postpone awarding of oil exploration bids in Moro areas

October 30, 2012 — The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has called the Government of the Philippines (GPH) anew to postpone the awarding of the oil exploration contract in Moro areas in Mindanao particularly those in the Liguasan Marsh in the Cotabato Basin and in Sulu seas.

The call was formally raised by MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim during his press conference in Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao last October 27.

The 64-year old MILF leader said his group has urged the government not to continue with the bidding on some exploration projects in central Mindanao until the wealth-sharing issue is fixed.

Asked by Luwaran about the chance of government’s positive response, Murad saiod, our appeal is very reasonable and sound.

“As a principle, we are not against exploitation of our natural resources including oil and gas provided that they redound to the benefits of our people and should be done in the proper time and conditions,” he stressed.

The issue of wealth-sharing, alongside power-sharing and normalization, is still in the negotiating table for discussion.

To handle normalization, both the GPH and MILF will organize technical working group (TWG) on normalization, which is a very contentious issue because it includes policing, decommissioning of MILF combatants, and gradual redeployment of government forces to other areas in the country.

Under the Department of Energy’s Petroleum and Energy Contracting Round 4 there are at least two areas, up for bidding: Area 11 in Cotabato, which is around 600,000 hectares, and Area 12, also in Cotabato, which is about 456,000 hectares.

The Basin has an area of 14,000 sq. km.  The bounding highlands to the east and west of the basin provided much of the clastic fill.

According to available data, the resources in the basin are estimated to be 158 million bbl. oil equivalents, including a discovered resource of 5 million bbl. oil equivalent (or 29 billion cubic feet gas). The total number of wildcat wells drilled is 10.

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