A Filipino-British company says the Philippine government has ordered the suspension of all exploration at an offshore oil and gas field because of an ongoing territorial dispute with China.

The oil and gas exploration and production company Forum Energy Plc. says the Department of Energy has instructed it to halt all exploration work in its contracted area at Reed Bank in the South China Sea off the western Philippine province of Palawan.

It said in a statement Monday that the area is subject to a U.N. arbitration case filed by the Philippines over China's rival claim to the territory.

Forum is majority-owned by Philippine company Philex Petroleum Corp. Philex said last year that the project has not attracted other investors because of concerns about offending China.