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Sinopec Confirms Major Discovery in Xinjiang
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China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, known as Sinopec Group, has made a major oil and gas discovery in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Asia's top refiner confirmed yesterday.

The breakthrough was made in Block 12 of the Tahe oilfield, which covers 899.5 square kilometers and holds geological reserves of up to 200 million tons (1.47 billion barrels) of oil equivalent, Sinopec said in its in-house newsletter, Sinopecnews yesterday.

"The discovery has been known for a while, without much media exposure," an anonymous press official with Sinopec Group told China Daily, though he remained tight-lipped about budget and timetable details.

Sinopec's spending on exploration will account for 45 percent of its total 2007 expenditures as it drills in oil- and gas-rich areas, such as Sichuan Province and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Chen Ge, Sinopec's company secretary, said he is confident the firm will find more deposits, which will have even richer reserves than the Puguang gasfiled.

"Our exploitation works are in full swing in the North-east part of Sichuan Province. I am confident that something bigger will come out of it," Chen said.

Sinopec's Puguang gasfield in Sichuan Province boasts a proven exploitable reserve of 356 billion cubic meters, making it the country's second largest, according to the Ministry of Land and Resources. China's current largest gasfield, the Sulige gasfield in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, has proven reserves of 533.6 billion cubic meters.

According to earlier media reports, Sinopec's new gas discovery at Cangxi of Sichuan will turn out be even larger than the Puguang gasfield in terms of reserves.

Should 30 percent of Tahe's deposits turn out to be recoverable, the field's proven reserves may reach 500 million barrels, one-third of PetroChina's Jidong Nanpu discovery, Gordon Kwan, head of oil and gas research at CLSA Ltd in Hong Kong, was quoted as saying by Bloomberg yesterday.

Tahe may add 15 percent to Sinopec's reserves and 5 percent to its net asset value, Kwan told Bloomberg.

The new discovery at Tahe Oilfield boosts Sinopec's exploitation theory and will lay a solid foundation to build Tahe as a large oilfield with 10 million tons of annual production, the company said in its newsletter.

As Asia's largest refiner, Sinopec imported 70 percent of its crude last year as refining materials. The soaring oil price last year widened Sinopec's 2006 refining loss to 25.3 billion yuan from 3.54 billion yuan a year earlier.

(China Daily May 31, 2007)

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