A lot of countries have been claiming the popular oil-rich Spratly Islands which lies in the South China Sea. Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, China and Brunei are vying to hold the islands which has billion tons of oil and natural gas and considered as one of the most productive fishing grounds in the world. While no one has yet to officially claim the islands, several evidences show that the Philippines is the rightful owner.
Ancient and modern maps reveal that the Spratly Islands are much nearer in the Philippines. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) even declared that the much-coveted Islands are still within the 200 nautical miles Exclusive Economic Zone of the Philippines.
Recto bank is also part of the Spratly Islands. It was said that the bank could supply the Philippines with natural gas for 100 years. An oil exploration firm under contract with the Philippines found out that Recto bank could produce 16.6 trillion cubic feet of gas enough to supply the Philippines for a century.
Aside from the Spratly Islands, Benham plateau, also known as Benhma Rise, is also know for its huge naturasal g deposits. Located in the Philippine Sea, Benham rise is also being claimed by China and other South East Asian countries.
The Philippine government claimed that Benhma Rise is an extension of the country’s continental shelf. The UNCLOS has also proved the claim of the Philippines in 2012.
The Benham Rise was presumably named after Admiral Andrew Ellicot Kennedy Benham who is the probable discoverer. But long before it was discovered, it has already been part of the Filipino culture as the people used to roam and fish in the area.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) has conducted studies about the Benham Rise for the past years. The studies suggest that Benham Rise has a huge deposit of natural methane in solid form which could make the Philippines as natural gas exporter.
Natural methane gas is used a source of energy for the generation of electricity, it is also used for heating and cooking, it also acts a s fuel for vehicles, and it is used as feedstock for manufacturers who produce commercially organic chemicals.
Moreover, the natural gas in Benham Rise could make the Philippines as one of the richest countries in the world.
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Sources: www.moderntribune.info, themaharlikan.info