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P470-M oil refinery to rise in Tawi-Tawi

/ 01:54 AM December 07, 2015

COTABATO CITY—The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) government has approved a $10-million (P470 million) mini-oil refinery project that a Filipino company has proposed to be established in Tawi-Tawi province.

Ishak Mastura, chair of ARMM Regional Board of Investments, said the project, to be undertaken by Southsea Industrial Energy Corp., would rise in Simunul town.

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“It will be the first of its kind—mini-oil refinery—in the country and will use a new technology from South Korea, with the assistance of the company’s South Korean technical partner,” Mastura said.

He said the project, which also has a depot and storage facility as components, was expected to be operational in the last quarter of 2017.

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“It will provide about 100 jobs and was provisionally approved on Wednesday pending the endorsement of the Department of Energy, which we expect to be released by the end of the month,” Mastura said.

The government has opened the seas around Tawi-Tawi for oil exploration a few years ago.

Recently, several oil companies reported discovering oil in the seas around the province with some of them actually starting drilling operations.

Mastura has identified the areas off Mapun Island, which is inside the so-called Sandakan Basin, as among the Tawi-Tawi territories where oil has recently been discovered.

The waters off Mapun alone have an estimated reserve, based on satellite imaging, of about 500 billion barrels of oil.

ExxonMobil Corp., touted to be the world’s largest international oil and gas company, was among the companies that reported “hitting something in the deep waters of Tawi-Tawi.”

Scott Spradlin, operations manager of ExxonMobil Exploration and Production of the Philippines, said the company had already put up a third drilling facility although it was not producing any oil or gas yet.

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He explained that while the presence of hydrocarbon was detected in the area, the process of extracting it either in oil or gas form would take years to commence.

The third facility, which ExxonMobil has put up with two more foreign firms, covers some 8,200 square kilometers of undersea area and is 200 kilometers off Bongao town. Edwin Fernandez, Inquirer Mindanao

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