THE DEPARTMENT of Energy (DoE) has cleared service contract (SC) 55 consortium’s request to put its offshore west Palawan petroleum block under force majeure for one year, based on disclosures from two firms.

In a regulatory filing on Friday, the Ayala Group’s oil and gas exploration unit ACE Enexor, Inc. said its subsidiary Palawan55 Exploration & Production Corp., received DoE’s letter on May 11. Palawan55, which holds majority or 75% participating interest in the consortium, is the operator of the SC 55,

The DoE approved the consortium’s request to place the block under force majeure.

“The letter…states that the timeline of the SC 55 Appraisal Period will be adjusted accordingly, and the end of the period will be adjusted by the same amount of time that SC 55 was on Force Majeure,” ACE Enexor said.

In a separate regulatory filing, Pryce Corp. said this will allow the consortium to plan and prepare ahead for unforeseen events brought about by the prolonged global health emergency. Pryce Gases, Inc., a unit of Pryce, holds a 25% participating interest in SC 55.

The consortium previously asked the Energy department to declare the block under force majeure as a definitive drilling plan has yet to be made.

Pryce explained the SC 55 consortium originally planned to drill at least one well in the area within the first two years of its appraisal work program which took effect on April 26, 2020.

Last month, ACE Enexor’s President and Chief Operating Officer Raymundo A. Reyes announced a drilling proposal for the exploratory well is in the works. He said they were drafting a comprehensive technical document, which details plans for the construction of the borehole and assessing rock formations and fluids in the subsurface.

Once the proposal is completed, it will be submitted to the DoE for clearance.

On Friday, shares of ACE Enexor remained unchanged at P17 apiece, while Pryce shares also closed steady at P5.50 each. — A.Y. Yang