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CNOOC Eyes Overseas Oil, Gas Assets
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China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), the country's top offshore oil company, is increasing overseas oil and gas assets and LNG imports to meet its bold 2010 energy supply target, the firm's chairman said yesterday.

"Rather than buying oil companies, we will look for more oil and gas assets, in terms of mergers and acquisitions, in the future," Fu Chengyu, CNOOC's chairman, told China Daily yesterday.

By 2010, CNOOC is determined to raise its energy supply to the local market to 100 million tons of oil equivalent, up from the 40 million tons today.

CNOOC's China production is estimated to reach 50 million tons of oil equivalent by 2010, while current overseas reserves are expected to contribute 20 to 25 million tons by 2010, depending on engineering capacity and construction speed, Fu said.

"We plan to bridge the gap by purchasing more oil and gas reserves from overseas markets and importing more liquified natural gas (LNG)," he added.

CNOOC currently owns overseas reserves equal to around 1.7 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

Fu declined to name the current LNG projects under negotiation, but he said there are several "very positive" talks ongoing.

With production and LNG imports reaching 100 million tons, CNOOC may experience a slower development pace after 2010.

"From 2010 on, our production increase may slow down and we plan to insert new assets into the listed company to maintain its steam," Fu said.

The new assets include the refining business, renewable energy projects and petrochemical business, Fu said.

"That is why we are sparing no effort to develop alternative energy, such as bio-fuel and offshore wind power projects."

The CNOOC chairman said his firm is to step up China's first offshore wind power project in Bohai Bay. "The test project will satisfy our own energy demand first, and contribute to other power networks later."

As an upstream offshore oil and gas producer, CNOOC is also expanding downstream to the retailing, refining and petrochemical business. The company recently received the green light from the Ministry of Commerce to tap oil product wholesale.

Fu said CNOOC will not engage in large-scale mergers and acquisitions of filling stations in the short term.

"We may target the rural areas and some middle regions connecting cities and villages. But it is still early to expand widely," Fu said.

(China Daily May 30, 2007)

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