CNOOC Chmn: To Offer More South China Sea Blocks for Tender 2007

Mar 05, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

China National Offshore Oil Corp. will offer more exploration blocks in the South China Sea in a tender this year, CNOOC chairman Fu Chengyu said Monday.

Fu did not specify how many blocks would be put up for open bidding, or whether they would be located in shallow or deep water.

Foreign companies are showing renewed interest in the South China Sea after Canada's Husky Energy Inc. (HSE.T) found recoverable reserves of natural gas estimated at between 113 billion and 170 billion cubic meters in June.

Prior to that, the area had been largely shunned by major oil producers after a succession of wells drilled in the 1980's turned up dry.

CNOOC has signed 10 deepwater contracts with foreign companies, using their expertise in drilling it depths where it lacks the necessary technology.

Its most recent deal was with U.S. company Devon Energy Corp. (DVN) in December for two deepwater blocks in the South China Sea.

Copyright (c) 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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