The recent oil production in Palawan, in the vicinity of South China Sea may not be comparable to other Oil fields in the world but its enough proof that the Philippines is perhaps a true “Pearl of the Orient Seas“. For a long time, we have been dependent with OPEC and other oil-producing countries and perhaps soon, we should be at least self-sufficient on oil requirements, and this could lead to a progressive Philippines.

With reserves estimated to only just about 20 million barrels, current production is at 20 thousand barrels a day, or about 6% of the daily Philippine oil requirement of 300 thousand barrels a day. For capitalists, this is not an attractive investment as cost of production is high. One drilling equipment could cost to as much as U$100,000 a day. At the current price of 80USD per barrel, daily production would translate to about US$1.6M – a small amount compared to productions in the Middle East where one oil field could choke up millions of barrel a day.

The Palawan Light Medium Crude Oil – the name used to identify the oil extracted some 2.2 kilometers from the seabed in Galoc, about 60 kilometers northwest of Palawan, is already suitable for direct refining, thus the oil refineries in Batangas can process it without the need of any special pre-refining process. This oil field actually was discovered before, but at that time, it was not viable for business. Problems will definitely arise if the global oil price continue to drop below USD80 a barrel.

Are we seeing some hope in the near future? The South China Sea has been tagged as rich with fossil fuels – probably the very reason why many Asian countries are claiming several territories around it. Many also believed that Tawi-Tawi and the Sulu Archipelago are oil-rich areas, unfortunately, with the place torn in war and violence for several decades, it is hard to tell when will progress set foot in these seemingly God-forsaken places.

Perhaps it is time our Muslim and Christian brothers down south join hands and ensure the future of their children are brighter. Will the day come when guns are laid down and violence has no place in the hearts and minds of our brethren and give chance to progress? Seems to be a dream in wonderland.