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CNOOC reports first deepwater gas discovery in South China Sea

Updated: Sep 16,2014 10:41 AM     Xinhua

This photo taken on Aug 18, 2014 shows a test of the Lingshui 17-2 gas well to produce natural gas on the South China Sea, China. China’s largest producer of offshore oil and gas CNOOC said on Sept 15, 2014 that CNOOC 981, the country’s first deepwater drilling rig, has reported its first deepwater gasfield discovery below the South China Sea. The newly-discovered Lingshui 17-2 gasfield is located 150 kilometers south of the Hainan Island. Its average operational depth was 1,500 meters below the sea surface, the company said in a statement.[Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING - China’s largest producer of offshore oil and gas CNOOC said on Sept 15 that CNOOC 981, the country’s first deepwater drilling rig, has made its first deepwater gasfield discovery in the South China Sea.

The Lingshui 17-2 gasfield, some 150 kilometers south of Hainan Island, is in the east Lingshui Sag of the Qiongdongnan Basin, the company said in a statement.

It is an ultradeepwater gasfield at an average operational water depth of 1,500 meters.

The definition of deepwater varies as technology develops. Currently, deepwater refers to anything below 500 meters, while depths over 1,500 meters are termed ultradeepwater.

Xie Yuhong, a manager with CNOOC, said the well would produce 56.5 million cubic feet of gas per day, equivalent to about 9,400 barrels of liquid oil per day, the highest daily flow of all CNOOC’s gas wells during testing.

The discovery needs to be confirmed by the resources reserve authority and, until then, the exact exploitable reserves cannot be reported.

This photo taken on March 7, 2012 shows workers working at the deepwater drilling rig 981 on the South China Sea, China. China’s largest producer of offshore oil and gas CNOOC said on Sept 15, 2014 that CNOOC 981, the country’s first deepwater drilling rig, has reported its first deepwater gasfield discovery below the South China Sea. The newly-discovered Lingshui 17-2 gasfield is located 150 kilometers south of the Hainan Island. Its average operational depth was 1,500 meters below the sea surface, the company said in a statement.[Photo/Xinhua]

According to Xie, the gasfield could be very large, given test results so far. A large gasfield generally means at least 30 billion cubic meters.

Wang Yilin, CNOOC chairman, said discovery of the field opened the door to deepwater oil and gas resources in the South China Sea and the huge exploration potential of deepwater areas there.

Lingshui 17-2 is the first significant deepwater discovery by semi-submersible rig CNOOC 981, which has been operating in the South China Sea since May, 2012. The rig cost 6 billion yuan (975 million U.S. dollars) and took more than three years to build. With a deck the size of a standard football field, the rig can operate at a depth of 3,000 meters and can drill as deep as 12,000 meters.

China is the world’s biggest energy consumer and heavily dependent on imported oil and natural gas with 58 percent and 31.6 percent respectively imported in 2013.

In desperate need of fuel, China has been working hard to find new sources at home.

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