PHINMA Petroleum and Geothermal Inc. (PPG) said Friday that its unit had notified the Department of Energy (DoE) about the entry of the Service Contract (SC) 55 consortium into the appraisal period.

The entry includes the commitment to drill one deepwater well within the first two years of the appraisal period, it told the stock exchange.

PPG’s subsidiary Palawan55 Exploration & Production Corp. holds a 37.5% participating interest in the consortium and is the operator of SC 55.

It said the consortium “may undertake a new 3D seismic program to mature other prospects within SC 55 to drillable status” after the reinterpretation of certain seismic data outside of the current study area.

It also said the SC 55 consortium submitted an indicative appraisal work program to the DoE to support its commitment.

Separately, listed firm Pryce Corp. made a similar announcement. Its subsidiary Pryce Gases, Inc. (PGI) has 25% a participating interest in SC 55.

PGI is principally engaged in the importation, distribution, and retail sale of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

Last month, PPG and Pryce Corp. announced that the consortium decided to step up its exploration contract offshore Palawan that may involve the drilling of an appraisal well. They said the consortium will enter sub-phase 5 of SC 55.

The move is to take effect on Aug. 26, 2019, but without prejudice to the consortium exercising its option to enter the appraisal period on or before that date.

Pryce Corp. said the entry into the sub-phase would mean the drilling of one ultra-deepwater well at the cost of at least $3 million.

SC 55 is a deep-water block in the southwest Palawan Basin that covers an area of 9,880 square kilometers.

“It is in the middle of a proven regional oil and gas fairway that extends from the productive Borneo offshore region in the southwest, to the offshore Philippine production assets northwest of Palawan,” Pryce Corp. has said.

PGI acquired its interest in SC 55 in July 2015 through a farm-in agreement with Otto Energy Philippines, Inc., former operator and ex-consortium partner in the service contract.

On Friday, Pryce Corp. rose 2.54% to P5.25, while those of PPG fell 0.99% to P6.00. — Victor V. Saulon