France, Australia, Philippines teams up Oil & gas exploration near ReedBank

Total of France is looking at the possibility of teaming up with Nido Petroleum Ltd. of Australia in oil and gas exploration in the Philippines, a source privy to the negotiations disclosed Monday (June 11, 2012).

"Total is also conducting due diligence on Nido's existing oil and gas portfolio," the source said.

Nido Petroleum Philippines Pty. Ltd., a unit of Nido Petroleum Ltd., is teaming up with Total over exploration opportunities offered by the government in its latest bidding round.

"The consortium was supposed to submit a bid but it was not able to get the approval in time for the bidding [last April]," the source said.

The two parties earlier executed a joint study and bid agreement to evaluate exploration acreage released in the so-called Philippine Energy Contracting Round 4.

Nido earlier said it would do technical and commercial evaluations of all 15 blocks offered in the government auction on behalf of partner Total.

PECR4 is a competitive bidding round over several exploration blocks conducted between April and July. The awarding of blocks to the successful bidder is expected in the second half of 2012.

"Nido and Total will definitely look at and most probably participate in the bidding of areas 3, 4 and 5 this end-July," the source said.

Areas 3, 4 and 5 are located in northwest Palawan, considered as one of the most prolific oil and gas areas in the country and is home to the Malampaya field in the Philippines, the largest and most successful natural gas industrial project in the Philippines.

Total is one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world. Its upstream business includes oil and natural gas exploration, development and production, as well as coal, gas and power activities.

Total's exploration and production activities are found in over 40 countries with production in 30 of them. Its main production regions are the North Sea, Africa and the Middle East, followed by Southeast Asia and North and South America.

Nido, meanwhile, aims to "unlock" the estimated combined resource potential of 2.9 billion barrels in its Philippine oil and gas portfolio.

(Published in the Manila Standard Today newspaper on /2012/June/12)

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