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CNPC Boosts Offshore Projects
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China's top oil company China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) will make a huge investment to tap offshore reserves this year, with Bohai Bay its priority.


"Based on the current situation, the Bohai Bay area is our top priority. We plan to roll out an annual 4 to 5 million tons of oil equivalent from Bohai offshore exploration and production in three years by 2010," Shi Lin, president of China National Petroleum Offshore Engineering Co Ltd (CPOE), told China Daily yesterday. CPOE is a subsidiary of CNPC.


CNPC will design and build a multi-purpose ocean engineering vessel with 350 tons of lifting capacity for its Bohai Bay operation this year, according to Shi.


"The vessel to be built will mainly focus on the Bohai Bay area, especially the new Nanpu section," Shi added.


PetroChina, CNPC's listed arm, said recently it had discovered a "very rich" oilfield at Bohai Bay. An anonymous source from the Ministry of Land and Resources said later that the daily output of the oilfield, located in the Nanpu area of PetroChina's Jidong Oilfield at Bohai Bay, was likely to reach 200,800 barrels in three years. The oilfield's reserves are expected to hit 2.2 billion barrels, according to the Xinhua News Agency.


Besides the Bohai Bay area, CNPC is preparing for deep-sea exploration of the South China Sea by designing a submerged drilling platform with a maximum working depth of 3 km, Shi said.


The deep-sea platform is a key project in the nation's high-profile 863 Program China's most important hi-tech research and development scheme. First-stage research for the platform will start this year, Shi said.


CNPC will begin its feasibility study and design work for two self-elevating drilling platforms this year to further its overseas offshore oil and gas exploration, according to Shi. The two self-elevating platforms will be mainly used for offshore exploration in Africa.


Shi was tight-lipped about the investment details of the projects, implying that the total budget could be sizable.


Meanwhile, China's top offshore oil company China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC), said yesterday it was developing its own 3-km deep-water drilling platform.


Zhang Weiping, deputy chief economist of CNOOC, told China Daily that it would invest US$600 million in the platform.


CNOOC said earlier this year it will invest about 10 million yuan to set up a laboratory platform in Bohai Bay by 2010 to further develop its deep-sea drilling capability.


(China Daily April 3, 2007)


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