Major discovery increases oil reserve

Updated: 2007-05-03 21:10

China's newly found oilfield in Bohai Bay has a reserve of one billion tons, or about 7.35 billion barrels, the largest discovery in the country over four decades, announced the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) Thursday.

The oilfield lies in the Nanpu block of the CNPC's Jidong Oilfield in Caofeidian in Tangshan City, north China's Hebei Province, said the company.

The Nanpu block, partly offshore, covers an area of 1,300-1,500 square kilometers and is expected to produce light crude.

By 2004, the CNPC had discovered five onshore oil fields in the Jidong area with a total reserve of 735 million barrels and an annual output of 7.35 million barrels.

The company previously estimated that the reserve of the new oilfield was 2.2 billion barrels and the daily output would be 200,800 barrels in three years.

PetroChina, the CNPC's holding company, boasted Asia's highest profitability last year with 142.2 billion yuan (18.5 billion U.S. dollars) in annual net profit.

China's oil dependency, or net oil imports against oil consumption, went up 4.1 percentage points year on year to 47 percent in 2006, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Last year, the nation produced 183.68 million tons of crude oil, up 1.7 percent, and imported 138.84 million tons, up 16.9 percent. Its oil consumption (crude plus oil products) amounted to 346.55 million tons, up 9.3 percent.It is predicted that China's crude oil imports will reach 160 million tons.

Jia Chengzao, an academic and oil geologist with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, projected that new discoveries will be made in the area around the Bohai Sea following the Jidong Nanbao Oilfield, which will lead to a rapid growth of the corporation's oil production in the future.

In another development, a senior official said yesterday that China would seek to satisfy its energy needs using domestic resources.

Addressing the Second Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable Conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, yesterday, Chen Deming, vice-director of the National Development and Reform Commission, said that China has a huge potential to exploit its abundant domestic energy resources.

"China is not only a major energy consumer, but also a giant energy producer," said Chen, who is head of the Chinese delegation.

He said the country has abundant coal reserves and bright prospects to develop hydroelectricity, wind power, solar energy and bioenergy.

It also has the potential to increase its oil production and its exploration for natural gas, Chen said.

Chen also dismissed claims that the country had been a major factor in the increasing global oil price, although it did need to import a certain amount of oil and natural gas to supplement its energy supplies.

The unstable regional situation, fund speculation and natural disasters are the main factors behind the abnormal rise of the oil price, he said.

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