PetroChina Opens Biggest Oil Field in Tarim Basin

China's largest condensed oil (a technical term that denotes a special kind of oil with a dense chemical structure) field was brought into operation early this month in the Tarim oil field in western China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

The gas field, named the Yaha Condensate Field, is expected to produce about 500,000 tons of condensed oil and 1.2 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually, said a spokesman for PetroChina Co Ltd, which leads the exploitation of the Tarim oil field.

Experts believe the exploitation of the condensed oil field will help the Tarim oil field increase its production and pave the way for the successful debut of the "West-to-East Gas Transmission Project," which aims to pipe natural gas from the Tarim and Changqing oil fields to energy-hungry Shanghai by 2003.

The oil field, found by China's oil giant PetroChina in 1994, borders the Tianshan Mountains to the north and the Taklimakan Desert to the south, covering a total area of some 50 square kilometers. It has proven reserves of 36 billion cubic meters of natural gas and 28 billion tons of condensed oil. The 500,000 tons of oil to be extracted every year will be processed in the Lanzhou Petrochemical Company, which merged with the Lanzhou Refinery Company last month to become the largest petrochemical company in west China.

The success of the Yaha oil field will be a considerable boost to the new company's outlay of resources, increase the supply of raw material for high-quality ethylene and sharpen its competitive edge, insiders said.

The field is also China's largest to be developed using high-pressure cyclical gas injection technology.

So far, PetroChina has invested a total of 1.2 billion yuan (US$144 million) in the project. A senior PetroChina official said his company intends to join hands with a foreign company to help fully tap the oil field's potential.

Condensed oil is an important material for petrochemical products, especially for liquefied natural gas (LNG). China launched a LNG project in south China's Guangdong Province in a bid to import 3 million tons of LNG per annum by 2005 to ease the energy shortage there.

In Yemen, Indonesia and Australia, new LNG projects are also under construction. The world will use an estimated 100 million tons of condensed oil this year.

The Tarim Basin has China's largest natural gas and condensed oil fields. It accounts for one fifth of the nation's total natural gas reserves.

(China Daily 11/14/2000)

In This Series

Xinjiang Discovers Big Oilfield

Xinjiang Opens Mineral Resources to Foreign Investors

Rich Gas Reserves Discovered in Northwest China



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