CNOOC offering 25 blocks for cooperation

Updated: 2013-10-09 07:41

By Lyu Chang (China Daily)

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China National Offshore Oil Corp, or CNOOC, the country's largest offshore oil and gas producer, said on Tuesday that it will offer 25 new offshore blocks for cooperation projects with foreign companies.

Seventeen of the blocks are located in the South China Sea, three in the East China Sea and five in the Yellow Sea and Bohai Sea.

CNOOC will invite foreign firms to bid for oil and gas projects in the blocks, according to a statement on its website.

The 25 blocks cover a total area of 102,577 square km, the statement added.

It also said that foreign companies may access the data related to the blocks after applying for the projects. The data will be available for viewing until Dec 30.

A CNOOC official in charge of the tender said that none of the blocks offered are located in disputed territorial waters.

The tender comes after CNOOC said in May that it has completed construction of Asia's biggest deepwater platform in the South China Sea, marking a breakthrough for the company.

The project, known as the Liwan 3-1 natural gas central offshore platform, will have an annual processing capacity of 12 billion cubic meters and will be put into operation by the end of the year, CNOOC said.

China and some Southeast Asian nations have disputes on territorial sovereignty issues and maritime rights in the South China Sea.

Zhou Fangyin, a global strategy expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that the move indicates that China is taking an active position to assert its claims in the South China Sea disputes.

In June 2012, the State-owned oil giant invited foreign companies to jointly develop nine blocks in the western part of the South China Sea, a move Vietnam claimed was illegal as the blocks encroached on its territorial waters.

Wang Yilin, CNOOC's chairman, said at the time that the move was strategic, as the South China Sea plays an important role to enable CNOOC to achieve its ambitious plan of investing 200 billion yuan ($32.58 billion) to beef up oil and gas exploration in the next two decades, earlier reports said.

The oil giant plans to double its oil and gas production by 2020 and triple it by 2030 from 2010 levels. The South China Sea's oil and gas reserves account for about one-third of China's total oil and gas resources.

(China Daily 10/09/2013 page14)