China oil giant finds "big" gas field in South China Sea

Posted at 11/09/12 5:52 PM

BEIJING - China's CNOOC Ltd has found a "big" gas field in Yinggehai basin of the South China Sea, the chairman of its parent company said, as the offshore oil and gas specialist accelerates developing the vast but under-explored waters. 

"What I can report today is that it's a big gas field," Wang Yilin, chairman of China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC), said on Friday at the Communist Party Congress in Beijing. 

Wang did not elaborate, saying the size of the reserve is being evaluated by the state. A gas reserve of at least 50 billion cubic metres, or about 1.6 trillion cubic feet, is typically considered a major discovery. 

Two industry officials said Wang could be referring to Dongfang 13-2, where CNOOC drillers tested in August more than 1 million cubic metres of daily gas output at a single well, making it one of the largest gas discoveries offshore China. 

Yinggehai basin, in northwestern part of the South China Sea, is mostly rich in gas not oil, experts say. 

China claims almost all the South China Sea, a body of water believed to hold rich oil and gas resources and which stretches from China to Indonesia and from Vietnam to the Philippines. 

Six parties - China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia - are involved in a complex set of territorial disputes in the sea. 

CNOOC has also made a major oil find with geological reserves of about 100 million tonnes in the Bohai Sea, off north China, Wang said, adding that the proven ratio in the Bohai area remained low at less than 25 percent. 

Earlier this year, appraisal works showed Penglai 9-1 field in Bohai yielded 1.1 million cubic metres daily oil output, according to a statement posted at CNOOC's website. (www.cnooc.com.cn)