P.M. BRIEFING : Aquino Signs Oil-Drilling Pact

From Times Wire Services

President Corazon Aquino today signed a service contract with Royal Dutch Shell and Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum Corp. for the exploration and development of potentially rich natural gas deposits in the Camago area off northern Palawan Island.

National Power Corp. Chairman Ernesto Aboitiz said test wells in the region indicate an initial yield from the field equivalent to 160,000 barrels of oil a day.

On the Manila Stock Exchange, stocks posted gains for the second straight day, buoyed by news that tests over the weekend conducted by Houston-based Alcorn Petroleum Inc. yielded up to 6,116 barrels of oil.

The Philippines imports 95% of its oil needs and, despite exploration, has yet to strike a major oil or natural gas field.