Oil exploration talks revived in Palau

Proponents behind the efforts to drill exploratory oil and gas wells in one of Palau’s outlying states are reviving the plan, optimistic that the administration of President Surangel Whipps Jr. will back the project.

On May 20, members of the Kayangel State legislature approved the extension of the license of Palau Pacific Energy Inc. (PPE) to drill exploratory wells in Velasco Reef.

Velasco Reef is located in the northernmost part of Palau. It is a known sanctuary for wildlife,  and a seabird and turtle nesting area. It has an enormous coral reef wildlife habitat and is teeming with fish life as well.

The revival of the exploration was made possible by the resolution signed by a majority of the members of the Kayangel State legislature. The resolution extends the agreement between the state and PPE for exploratory drillings.

Former President Johnson Toribiong is helping the PPE get the venture off the ground anew.

In an interview, Toribiong said he believes that if the exploratory drilling findings do strike oil or gas, it will “ change the history of Palau forever.”

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