Philippines allows oil and gas exploration in disputed sea
The Philippines has accepted bids from foreign companies to conduct oil and gas explorations in the South China Sea.
That's despite China's claims to the area, and an ongoing territorial stand-off with Beijing over the Scarborough shoal.
Philippines energy officials say nine out of 16 companies that tendered for the exploration projects have met the requirements to explore five blocks in Philippines-claimed areas in the South China Sea.
Another tender will be posted by energy officials in July for three blocks off the country's south-western coast.
Energy Under Secretary Jay Layug says, in total, 15 energy contracts are being offered, worth $US7.5 billion.
There's a proposal for the Philippines and China to jointly explore for oil and gas in the disputed areas of the South China Sea, but the Philippines Government says it's not open to that option.