Philippines find gas in separatist area

Aug 31, 1999 02:00 AM

Philippines President Joseph Estrada said a government oil exploration firm had found signs of a large gas deposit in a town which has been the scene of tensions between the military and Moslem guerrillas.
Estrada said exploratory drilling in Sultan sa Barongis Town in southern Maguindanao province found "high-quality gas" with a stabilised flow rate of 200,000 cfpd. A second exploratory well is being drilled to determine the size of the deposit.

Estrada said the presence of the Moslem separatist guerrillas should not affect development of the area. "This will be for their own benefit. They should help. We will get their co-operation because ... this will benefit most of our Moslem brothers there." Sultan sa Barongis Town has been the scene of a face-off between the military and the Moslem separatist MILF, the largest group still fighting for a separate Moslem state in the southern Philippines.
Although a cease-fire has been signed to pave the way for formal peace talks, repeated skirmishes still take place and the opening of formal negotiations on September 25 were cancelled after the government refused to recognise 46 areas that the MILF claims.

Source: AFP via Iinoil
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