IN THE KNOW
The Recto Bank, also known in international maps as Reed Bank, lies about 150 kilometers east of the reputedly oil-rich Spratly chain, which are claimed in whole or in part by Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam, as well as the Philippines and China.
The Recto Bank, also labeled as “Dangerous Ground” in international maps and atlases, has oil and gas deposits that reach deep into Cuyo Islands in Palawan. It has been the subject of numerous exploration campaigns in the past under the Philippine contractual regime and Presidential Decree No. 87. The first petroleum contract in the area was awarded by the then Ministry of Energy in 1975.
Studies have shown that the Recto Bank could contain some 0.1-trillion cubic meters (3.4-trillion cubic feet) of gas and potentially 440 million barrels of oil. It is believed to host a much bigger deposit of oil and gas than the adjoining Shell-operated Malampaya gas field, the country’s only gas production field to date.
The Recto Bank lies within the Philippines’ 370-km (200-nautical-mile) exclusive economic zone.
In March, two Chinese gunboats recently came too close to a vessel that was conducting a survey of areas in Recto Bank for oil and gas deposits, forcing the Philippine military to send aircraft and vessels to drive away the Chinese boats. Marielle Medina, Inquirer Research
Source: Inquirer Archives
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