MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines will bid out oil exploration contracts in the South China Sea despite recent tensions with China over conflicting territorial claims in those waters, an official said Wednesday (July 11th), according to AFP.
The three blocs in the South China Sea, off the coast of the western Philippines island of Palawan, are believed to be the most promising for oil and gas deposits, said Energy Undersecretary James Layug.
"All reserves in that area belong to the Philippines. We will only offer areas within our exclusive economic zone," he said at the sidelines of an energy forum in Manila.
The exploration contracts for the three blocs will be bidded out on July 31st, he said.
Tensions between the Philippines and China have recently risen due to conflicting claims over parts of the South China Sea.
Layug said China had not objected to the plans to bid out the contracts for the three blocs.