China National Offshore Oil Corp. Ltd. (CNOOC) is set to launch a new round of bidding for untapped oil and gas resources in the South China Sea, said a CNOOC official on Wednesday.
The official refused to reveal any specific details but insiders said that despite a recent craze in deep-water drilling, the company would promote shallow water projects.
CNOOC opened up 12 untapped deep-water areas covering 76,000 square kilometers in South China Sea to public bidding on September 23, 2002 and has now signed production-sharing contracts for most of the areas.
Its deep-water strategy, which has seen it team up with Canada's Husky Energy controlled by Li Ka-shing last year, has attracted a large amount of foreign capital since the 1980s.
By May 2006, the company had signed 172 contracts with 75 oil companies worldwide to build 23 gas and oil fields, which accounted for 65 percent of the country's total oil and gas production.
According to China's law, CNOOC has the exclusive right to sign production-sharing contracts with foreign firms, under which the subsidiary has to bear all the exploration risks.
CNOOC Ltd. is entitled to a 51-percent stake in the development and production of any resources discovered.
(Xinhua News Agency March 7, 2007)