China Discovers Massive Oil Reserve in South China Sea

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China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC), the national oil giant of China, has recently made a significant oilfield discovery in the eastern South China Sea. The newly found reserve, located in the Kaiping South Oilfield, has a volume of approximately 100 million tons. This oilfield is situated 300 kilometers off the coast of Guangdong province in southern China.

Through continuous exploration efforts, the proved in-place volume of the Kaiping South Oilfield has reached an impressive 102 million tons of oil equivalent. The exploratory well has been tested and is producing an average of approximately 7,680 barrels of crude oil and 0.52 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.

This discovery is particularly noteworthy as the Kaiping South Oilfield is China’s first deep-water and deep-play oilfield with a proven in-place volume of over a hundred million tons. Xu Changgui, the deputy chief exploration officer of CNOOC, expressed his excitement about this achievement.

CNOOC remains committed to the exploration and development of oil and gas resources in the South China Sea, aiming to continuously enhance its energy supply capacity. Zhou Xinhuai, the CEO and president of the company, emphasized the company’s dedication to this goal.

By 2024, CNOOC aims to produce 700 to 720 million barrels of oil equivalent, with 69 percent of the production coming from China and the remainder from overseas operations. This ambitious target showcases CNOOC’s determination to strengthen its position in the energy sector.

The Kaiping region, where the oilfield is located, holds cultural significance and is known as the center of the hometown of overseas Chinese in the five counties under Jiangmen City. This area is renowned for its local watchtowers, ancient buildings, and Chinese folk arts. It is also recognized for its rich natural and cultural sightseeing resources, making it one of the top 100 cities in China.

Kaiping benefits from its favorable geographical location, strong economic foundation, and pleasant living environment. Situated along the transport artery connecting the Pearl River Delta and southwest Guangdong, it serves as an important hub linking western Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macau. The region’s sound transportation infrastructure system allows for easy access to cities such as Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Macau within a two-hour radius, fostering strong synergies between cities in terms of industrial development and facilities supporting the living environment.

The announcement of this oil discovery comes amidst an ongoing territorial dispute in the region, involving countries like the Philippines. The Philippines has repeatedly accused China of trespassing on its territory. Recently, there was an incident where China Coast Guard and Chinese Maritime Militia vessels obstructed a routine Philippine rotation and resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre, which is deliberately grounded off Ayungin Shoal. This led to a collision between Philippine and Chinese vessels, resulting in injuries to Filipino security forces and damage to one of the country’s boats.

In response to such incidents, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. announced that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has adopted the new Comprehensive Archipelagic Defense Concept. This concept aims to defend the Philippine territory, including its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The adoption of this defense concept highlights the Philippines’ commitment to safeguarding its sovereignty and protecting its interests in the region.

Overall, CNOOC’s discovery of a massive oil reserve in the South China Sea is a significant development for China’s energy sector. It demonstrates the country’s capabilities in deep-water exploration and its commitment to meeting its energy needs. However, it is essential to address the ongoing territorial disputes in the region through peaceful means and diplomatic negotiations to ensure stability and cooperation among nations.

Source: The Manila Times

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