Oil Exploration Postponed?

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Oil Exploration Postponed?
« on: June 17, 2007, 05:35:35 PM »
The Bohol side of the three-dimensional (3D) seismic survey of the Bohol Strait slated to start tomorrow has been deferred pending the resolution of issues and concerns raised by the Bohol Alliance of Non-Government Organizations (Bangon).

This following a five-hour marathon meeting Thursday night and another Friday afternoon both presided over by Gov. Erico Aumentado at the conference room of the Governor's Mansion.

Bangon led by lawyer Raul Barbarona, member of the Board of Trustees and former chair Emilia Roslinda, executive director of PROCESS Foundation and some other stakeholders including marginalized fishermen and fisherfolks aired their concern over compensation for adversely affected fishermen and their fish aggregating devices (FADs) or payao, the equitable distribution of royalty fees and conservation of marine resources.

Department of Energy Assistant Sec. Francisco Delfin Jr., Kristoffer Fellowes and Ruben Gan, chief executive officer and chief operating officer respectively of the NorAsian Energy Ltd. answered questions that however still left some issues hanging.

As a result, Delfin and NorAsian categorically stated that they will defer the survey on the Bohol side until the issues are cleared.

However they will start the Cebu side of the 3D survey as scheduled having obtained endorsement from the Cebu provincial government.


While the survey will determine the quantity of natural gas or oil from the geologic formation that NorAsian refers to as "mature prospects" between Cabilao Island in Bohol and Argao town in Cebu, for purposes of computation only, Delfin tagged a gross income of P100 million. Pegging the actual recoverable cost or gross proceeds at 70 percent - whichever is lower - this spells net proceeds of P30 million.

The contractor share at 40 percent is P12 million, leaving the remaining 60 percent or P18 million as the government share. From this will be deducted P8.21 million representing income tax computed at 8.21 percent of the gross income. This less a net government share of P9.79 million from which 60 percent or P5.87 million will be deducted as national government share. This will go to DOE.

The remaining 40 percent or P3.92 million will be divided among the provincial government at 20 percent or P.79 million; 45 percent for the town where the natural resource is located or P1.76 million, and 35 percent for the barangay or P1 37 million.

Using the above computation for an assumed discovery of 298 barrels of oil and 425 of gas, the hypothetical government royalty for a $19.90-billion gross income. For the LGU share, $0.156 billion will go to the province, $0.352 billion to the town and $0.274 to the barangay.


Fellowes and Delfin also committed to compensate affected communities. Owners of registered payaos will get direct full compensation with the amount to be determined by estimates of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

For unregistered payaos, NorAsian will pay P500 to the municipal treasurer concerned to register the same and the balance directly to the owners.

Lourdes Arciaga of BFAR 7, Cresencio Pahamutang of BFAR Bohol and Region 7 Director Andres Bojos who flew in from Iloilo on instructions of OIC Gil Adora whom Aumentado called to help resolve the hanging issues said the cost of installing payaos depends on several factors, among them the depth and distance from the shore. The deeper it is placed, the more expensive it becomes.

While the seismic boat m/v Pacific Sword is conducting the survey, fishermen, divers, fast craft and other vessels are urged, for their safety, to stay eight kilometers away.

Two pumpboats and a speedboat will be deployed to help warn they if they get too close. This means some fishermen will incur temporary loss of revenue.

NorAsian will give these registered fishermen direct and full compensation.

Compensation for unregistered fishermen will be given to the provincial government for distribution, but Aumentado suggested that the amount be given directly to the municipal governments for easier distribution and less expenses on the part of the fishermen.

To determine who will get compensation, Aumentado Friday issued a memorandum order to the mayors of Tagbilaran City and Dauis, Panglao, Cortes, Maribojoc, Calape and Loon towns and their respective agricultural officers to submit within five days the list of registered and unregistered owners of FADs, fish cages and pens operating within their jurisdiction and their cost, and the list of registered and unregistered fisherfolks, the fishing gears they use and their average daily fish catch.


To determine the effect of the seismic survey on the environment, the stakeholders agreed to identify prospective members of a Technical Working Group (TWG) that will conduct "before, during and after" surveys of marine sanctuaries in Barangays Doljo and Bil-isan in Panglao, Cabilao and Sandingan in Loon and in strategic areas in between.

Tagged to head the group is Dr. Nida Calumpong of Silliman University who earlier helped PROCESS and the Bohol Marine Triangle in establishing the marine sanctuaries.

While NorAsian and DOE assure the stakeholders that the seismic survey effects on the environment would be temporary and short-term, the latter does not intend to take chances, hence the visual census of fish and other methods, despite the certificate of non-coverage (CNC) that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued.

To mobilize and fine tune their next steps, Aumentado is convening the stakeholders again this Tuesday. (The Bohol Chronicle, June 17, 2007)

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