Philippines pin hopes on Benham Rise


Benham Rise off the Eastern coast

Thank goodness Benham Rise is found at the coastal region of Isabela and Aurora provinces in the East and not somewhere in the West where China’s nine-dash line lay claim to almost all of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

What am I talking about?

Well, Benham Rise is an undersea region that was between 40 and 2000 meters below the waterline when it was discovered in 1933 by an American geologist surnamed Benham.

The Philippines is now claiming the area after having proven that it is indeed part and, in fact, an extension of the country’s eastern continental shelf.

The UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) defines the continental shelf as “the seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas that extend beyond its territorial sea” up to 370 km (200 nautical miles) from the archipelagic baseline. An extended continental shelf goes farther than 370 km.

“We have submitted a claim under (UNCLOS) sometime in late 2008. We got a reply from the UN lately (asking us) to answer some questions. They intend to pass a resolution sometime in mid-2012 to approve our claim (that it is) part of the Philippine continental shelf,” Environment Secretary Ramon Jesus Paje said, in a statement, after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) formally submitted its proposed P16.99-billion (US$40 million) budget for 2012 to the Senate finance committee.

According to Paje the area being claimed could translate to a gain of 13 million hectares in additional territory, an area slightly smaller than Luzon, should the United Nations decide favorably on it

What is very encouraging and promising is that studies conducted by the DENR for the past five years indicate large deposits of methane in solid form. This observation was confirmed by the National Mapping Resource Information Agency, which also reported the existence of solid methane.

Paje said gas deposits in the area would enable the country to achieve energy sufficiency.

This development prompted Sen. Franklin Drilon to say that once the UNCLOS establishes that Benham Rise is part of the Philippines, “we would have legal basis to enter into exploration agreements with private companies to explore…(the area’s) resources.”

Drilon added that a favorable UNCLOS declaration would mean “increasing our territory from present 30 million hectares to possibly 43 million” with the inclusion of Benham Rise.



50 comments on “Philippines pin hopes on Benham Rise

  1. Hopeful_for_Philippines says:

    This is interesting. I hope this marks the beginning of a progressive Philippines. Oh before I forget, from probably being run out of hope and being an internet surfer – I can just relate the recent news of improving economies for both Indonesia and Philippines from Cindy Jacob’s prophecy. Another one too from a supposed Filipino mystic (although he’s talking about opening of a stargate portal somewhere above Palawan, which he said is the dawning of a new Philippines? (probably because of oil in Spratlys and in Benham Rise?). Whatever it is, they were just some things I can relagte based on reading a number of articles about Philippines. I can only hope for the betterment of my motherland.

    • quierosaber says:

      You are quite a revelation yourself. Am not a big fan of Cindy Jacob nor anybody who is a self-proclaimed prophet. But I believe in ancient aliens! Thanks for your thoughts.

    • My Philippines says:

      May all the hopes upon us… mabuhay Philippines!

    • andrew says:

      this means, Job . . for us and for the future of our country..for the common good of all the Filipino people

    • Kiko says:

      To all politicians and businessmen… start being a Filipino for Filipinos. Stop corruption and greediness. Philippines became sick man of Asia because of corrupt politicians and businessmen. Show your leadership, stop lawyering for corrupt government officials. The Philippines is very rich in natural resources, but we never have learned to become good stewards. Fight corruption!

  2. nanie says:

    I was surfing on PDI news and came across this interesting news. It’s been so long that I’ve waited for promising developments like this. For two decades, I have lost hope on the topic about diuterium in the Philippines and the Dingel invention, but now, I am upbeat about Benham Rise, hopefully with God’s indulgence, may our Beloved Country prosper. I also hope that I may experience this in my lifetime, and being an OFW myself, I would like to see OFWs coming home for good, and may our progress fail to entice others who wants to leave our country for a menial job abroad, where they would be prone to abuses and insults in exchange for a salary not really worth it ( what with a master and slave attitude of their employers) Mabuhay ang Pilipino!

    • quierosaber says:

      Am sure you know where off you speak. Hope we can overcome contretemps, especially those created by wickedness of man (a.k.a. politician) – greed, corruption, dishonesty – that is preventing this country from moving forward fast enough.

  3. Arnold Pulga says:

    that will be very useful for the people of the philippines….

  4. van-heber says:

    i have been following all news about the Spratly Islands !! and now We got this! Ay! Lets go Philippines! Lets go! [fingers cross] – hoping that we will get this!! – Benham Rise…Come to your True owner, the pearl of the orient seas…..The mighty Philippines
    -Van Heber
    -Seattle WA. lol

  5. Pantvill says:

    This is the best hope for our mother country… hopefull this will bring a big leaf in our countrys economy…

  6. victor says:

    Although being filled with govt. anomalies, it’s still a God Fearing Nation: truly; it’s not perfect but after being blessed by Benham Rise and Spratlys, who would think that my Home-Birth would remain in a gutter full of mud. God has always been graceful with his Divine Love to his devoted follower. God Bless the Philippines and it’s beautiful people.

  7. Benham Rise says:

    Thanks for this wonderful post that promotes awareness regarding Benham Rise!

  8. mYLENe says:

    Benham Rise will turn us into a natural gas exporter because of the area’s huge methane deposits. No other claimant but the Philippines.

    Let us please the Lord, God will bless us!

  9. Lino Gilbert K. Parone says:

    Cleansing the Philippine government of corrupt officials and the system itself is a very expensive proposition. With this new found potential source of revenue from what is touted to be clean energy, our country may well be on its way to getting there – clean governance. But as experienced by other countries who aspired, worked for, and finally clinched good, honest and clean governance, the road is never smooth, the work too much for one administration to finish. All this requires tons of patience, readiness to change, and loads of hope from the general populace. This will work only if we all work for it.

    • quierosaber says:

      Agreed. Less politics, less vested interests, less greed, and work more for what is best for the country and the greater number of people.

  10. gg says:

    hope to read more developments… btw, is there any website solely devoted to the documentation of development regarding benham rise? hope the government also make time for making this known to almost all filipinos. that way, awareness increases which can multiply hopeful hopes through fervent prayer for a great cause! still, urs is a big help too.

    • quierosaber says:

      Don’t know if this link will be of any help to you:

      • gg says:

        just wondering …
        how come the media have not featured anything about benham rise?
        recently yahoo headlined that uk favors phils in terms of its public-private partnerships; another is phils a place for investment; others state heads visiting the country; just a wild thought, could these reports be in any way connected with benham rise? just thinking….

  11. quierosaber says:

    I don’t think so. Investment interest comes from the fact that the government under President Aquino is doing everything to make the investors feel safe and welcomed and the process to start a business won’t pass thru many red tapes. There is now high confidence level towards the Philippine government. Benham rise is there but I don’t think its development will happen in my or your generation. It just feels good to know that it is there. Please try going to this link for more information about Benham rise:

    • Pepito says:

      The government should not delay the seismic surveys to be done on that area. They should invite right away oil corporations both local and abroad to start the seismic survey. Heavy weights such as shell, Chevron, Mobil, BP, PNOC,Indian and even Chinese Drilling companies have to be invited for specific areas to do the surveys. We need that area to be develop ASAP to alleviate our needs on fuel and gas. Why wait for a year?

  12. icangivehope says:

    cheers! for that! Benham Rise will definitely becomes an asset of the Philippines once UNCLOS decides and favored the Philippine ownership of Benham Rise. Looking forward to hearing some good new bout it.

  13. KeepChinaOut!!! says:

    I hope bernham rise will be forever safe From the Chinaman’s greed…. but seriously i wont be surprised if another Chinese “historical claim” springs out somewhere…..

  14. phil says:

    finally its ours…. God have mercy on us, he will not let us poor, only crock politician will.

  15. andrew says:

    later on..CHina will tell the world that she owns the whole philippines .. . .

    • quierosaber says:

      Hope not.

    • Pepito says:

      They already did on some Chinese local blogs.I countered by posting a comment that Hongkong was historically owned by the Philippines because somehow Magellan, the Las Islas de Filipinas discoverer had drop anchor on that Chinese island. Hahahahaha.

  16. Ronnel says:

    Good news, the United Nations had just approved Philippines claim to the Benham Rise in addition to us being the sole claimant.

    China won’t be doing any “historical claims” on this.

    We can now start exploiting the Benham Rise which is almost as large as Luzon. More jobs for our people.

  17. Roman S. Averia says:

    But the oil, gas or mineral resources here are down deep that implies deep sea mining. It can be mined but the question is the technology and the cost of extraction. Nevertheless this is really and good propsect.

    Many believe that this stuff is a significant fossil fuel reservoir – perhaps the most abundant untapped fossil fuel. However, mining of methane hydrate has been problematic because of its
    instability. It just melts, when you bring it up from deep water, and the methane escapes into the ocean or atmosphere, unless it is trapped and confined.

    Therefore, I find Mr. Paje’s anouncement very self serving para siya o PNOY government eh sikat. First, who initiated this claim and is it not they are very critical to us miners to the point they go with the self declared champion of environment that there is no such thing as responsible mining, Second, he said mineral deposits meaning it has yet to be explored and valuated to determine if the deposits are of commercial grade (ore deposits). Eh ang dami nating land mineral deposits that is much easier to explore and mine, yet they are too loud about deepsea exploration and mining. The USA also has solid methane gas prospect but the technology to extract remains to be discovered. Siguro yung metal deposits na sinasabi niya eh puede pa but expenisve to mine which means we need to mine it on a very large scale and would entail huge investments.

    • quierosaber says:

      Thanks for the sharing the link. Very informative. I agree with you. Exploit what we have and what we are capable of doing to help the economy of this nation. Leave the methane hydrate to future generations or when the technology for extracting it wisely and economically shall have been discovered or when we shall no longer be a struggling nation but already a fully developed one.

    • Pepito says:

      That technology you mention to extract natural gas and fossil fuel were obsolete. Americans suddenly found a new technology to drill and extract oil and natural gas deep inside rocks formation they called Shale. Most of this Shale formations are found in Texas, Virginia, Montana, Idaho, and the Dakotas and oil companies still discovering more..The drilling method is called Fracking and Horizontal Drilling. I will not describe it here but you can find it if you Google it. The U.S. is now considered as big as Qatar and Saudi Arabia in terms of natural gas production. Very soon, the U.S. will export gas and oil since it’s abundant and the production far exceed consumption here in the United States. Oil and natural gas are also abundant in the Gulf of Mexico under U.S. territory. Oil companies have to drill 10,000 meters deep under the sea in order to reach the oil and gas reservoir.Now let’s talk about Benham Rise. DENR says the gas (Methane) were observed in that area and most of the deepest part under the sea is believed to be from 50 meters and 1000 meters deep. That’s piece of cake for the oil and gas drillers. By Gulf of Mexico standard, that is considered shallow water. What the Philippine government could do is to start right away giving the exploration contracts to any foreign and domestic oil drillers to do Seismic Surveys in all areas of the Benham Rise to determine and find which areas are commercially productive when drilling starts. Seismic surveying are now utilizing modern techniques even the using Satellites (GPS) and Buoys (Transmitter and Receivers) while a ship is slowly traversing the area. Well let’s just cross our fingers and hope for the best. But if there’s a presence of solid methane then there should be definitely a source somewhere..

      • quierosaber says:

        I think everybody, including the Philippine government, is aware of hydraulic fracturing or fracking. This technology of pulling natural gas from deep shale and extracting oil from the same is not new. Texas has been doing it since the 1990s and the practice is fast spreading especially in the Marcellus shale formation/deposit. Am sure this is one option the government will be considering when the time comes. Thanks for your insights.

  18. jsa says:

    Let us plan 500 years from now for the Philippines. I saw the Philippines will be a world power. It’s no guess. Conditions sine qua non: Eradicate completely the culprit of non-stop development and progress, that is: Corruption in government. Regulate/Control the sending out of our great brains abroad. Let us all patriotic Filipinos! Let us serve our motherland. The Philippines don’t need politicians, it needs real statemen to lead the country to the future 500 years from now. We will beat world powers. It will be Philippines’ time in the future. Philippines will be a world power! (Just like Great Britain).

    • quierosaber says:

      Well, progress we will, but to be a world power is wishful thinking. 500 years is a long time and I fear the word hegemony. With China getting stronger both militarily and economically, and expanding towards the East and South China Seas which they claim as theirs, the proximity of their annexed realm to our shores will be great cause for alarm. Their objective is our rich resources and nothing else. Unless the Philippines get annexed first somewhere else to some powerful country for the same reason, our fate is uncertain. Just theorizing.

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