Sultan Kudarat celebrates milestone as firm strikes natural gas in farming town


Lambayong Mayor Andy Agduma says the new development could lead to progress in his farming town and could transform the municipality into a little ‘Dubai’

GENERAL SANTOS, Philippines – Sultan Kudarat officials expressed joy as natural gas surged from the first well drilled by the Filipino-owned oil and gas exploration company in Lambayong town.

The outcome of the drilling and ceremonial flare-out at the Gansing Well in the village of Bilumin on March 29 marked a significant milestone for SK Liguasan Oil and Gas Corporation (SKLOGC) and Sultan Kudarat province.

The well is just one of a dozen identified for drilling in the town by SKLOGC which plans to spend nearly P2 billion on the drilling of appraisal wells in Sultan Kudarat. 

Lambayong Mayor Andy Agduma said the new development could lead to economic progress and job opportunities in his farming town and could transform the municipality into a little “Dubai” in the Philippines. 

Sultan Kudarat Governor Pax Ali Mangudadatu expressed excitement about the development, saying the extraction of natural gas from the well was a game changer for the province. 

“We are excited about the flare,” said Mangudadatu, pointing out that the natural gas reserves would benefit not only Sultan Kudarat in the Soccsksargen region but also neighboring areas. 

The governor’s mother, Mariam, holds the same position in neighboring Maguindanao del Sur, located in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) where regional officials want strict regulations on natural resources.

The area includes a substantial portion of the resource-rich Ligawasan Marsh (commonly referred to as Liguasan Marsh), which stretches across several Mindanao provinces.

The marsh, which encompasses approximately 10% of the Mindanao River Basin and is home to roughly 100,000 families, has long been considered for its significant potential in gas reserves and is located within the jurisdiction of the BARMM.

BARMM lawmakers have sought the establishment of a government agency that will manage the vast and resource-rich Ligawasan Marsh, the largest wetland in the country. 

Mohammad Antao, a member of the Bangsamoro parliament, has filed a bill to create the Ligawasan Development Authority (LDA) that will oversee the marsh’s natural resources within BARMM’s jurisdiction. The bill was also being pushed by parliament members Mudjib Abu, Tawakal Midtimbang, Suwaib Oranon, and Bassir Utto.

SKLOGC’s chief operating officer, Noel Felicia, said the firm would hire technical experts, including petroleum engineers, geologists, and mining engineers to deploy and develop the sites further.

More than a hundred workers are needed for each well once the firm’s operations go full swing, he said.

The company has 22 site prospects, including 12 in Sultan Kudarat and 20 in the Ligawasan Marsh area. 

SKLOGC said it expects to discover oil and gas deposits in 27 villages of Lambayong, with Bilumin (formerly Gansing) and Caridad being known sites for petroleum exploration. 

The Department of Energy (DoE) has awarded SKLOGC a service contract that allows the company to test the gas pressure in the area for one year to determine commercial viability. 

Initial findings on seismic data have been promising, indicating high-pressured gas. 

The firm’s seven-year work program approved by the energy department showed that SKLOGC will spend P1.9 billion on the drilling of appraisal wells. 

SKLOGC said it also plans to build modular power plants to help supply the electricity requirement in Mindanao, pending successful exploration and development. –