The Philippines will gain 13 million hectares in additional territory, an area slightly smaller than Luzon, should the United Nations approve next year the government’s claim on a region off the coast of Isabela and Aurora. This undersea region, called Benham Rise, could turn the Philippines into a natural gas exporter because of the area’s huge methane deposits. Studies conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for the past five years indicate large deposits of methane in solid form. The Philippine government is only awaiting a formal declaration from the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that Benham Rise is on the country’s continental shelf and therefore part of its territory. Once the UNCLOS establishes that Benham Rise is part of the Philippines, the country would have legal basis to enter into exploration agreements with private companies to explore the area’s resources.