Oil finds to ease national thirst
New oil finds, totalling some 280 million tons, may go a long way towards alleviating China's reliance on foreign imports.
In at least six areas around the Shengli Oilfield in East China, scientists have found large oil deposits dating back millions of years, the Ministry of Science and Technology announced Monday.
They said Dongxin, one of the six, contains more than 252 million tons of oil while the other five areas may have between 10-30 million tons.
"The new breakthroughs will considerably help ease the country's oil shortage and especially sustain the better developed eastern areas," said Yan Jisheng, a ministry official in charge of natural resources and environmental development.
Scientists may still find similar geological areas and even more oil in other parts of the country, said Yan.
The new discoveries were the results of recent developments in underground surveys developed by Chinese scientists.
The process involves studying the qualities of sedimentary rocks to discover oil deposits.
Scientists combined a number of disciplines -- including physics, chemistry, geology and computer science -- to further explore the sites where the oil deposits may be found.
The new theories have gained worldwide attention in geology circles.
During a symposium last October in Beijing, experts hailed the new theory as important to develop oil resources around the globe, noted sources from the ministry.
China has been facing an oil shortage with its rapid economic development over the past two decades.
Since late 1990s, outputs from Daqing and Shengli oilfields -- the oil producing backbones in East China -- have started to drop due to 40 years of exploration and utilization.
Over the past eight years, scientists had applied their new theory on oil deposits in the Shengli Oilfield and its adjacent areas.
In addition to the above six areas, scientists found two proven targeted areas with 200 million tons of oil producing capacities, five areas with 50 million tons capacities and five areas with 30 million tons capacities around Shengli.
Scientists believe that these newly found areas will help reverse the output decrease at Shengli. By last year, newly found areas around Shengli had produced over 33 million tons of crude oil.
The Shengli Oilfield is expected to keep a steady oil production of 30 million tons by 2006, scientists said.
Moreover, Songliao, the Bohai Bay, Nanxiang, Jianghan and Subei bases in East China may contain a total of 10 billion tons of sedimentary basing oil deposits, experts predicted.
"These new discoveries have eased our anxiety over oil shortages... and we know that we have more oil deposits to support the country's long-term economic development," said Yan.
Meanwhile, scientists are making efforts to apply new oil extraction technologies in old oil fields, such as Daqing and Shengli, to upgrade the efficiency of oil production, according to Yan.