Apache Eyes Expansion in China

Apache is looking for opportunities to expand its upstream business in China, a senior company official said this week.

"We are very interested in expanding in China's upstream sector," said Chuck Fetzner, manager of exploration and new ventures at Apache China Corp., a unit of U.S.-based Apache Corp.

Apache and PetroChina Co. already jointly produce crude oil from the Zhaodoing block in the shallow waters of the Bohai Bay in northern China. Output there totals 15,500 barrels a day, down from a peak of 20,000 b/d when the block was first brought into production last July, Fetzner told Dow Jones Newswires on the sideline of the China Oil & Gas Development Forum in Shanghai.

Because Apache already has facilities in the Bohai Bay area, that would be the logical place for it to look for further upstream opportunities, delegates attending the conference said.

However, they said, opportunities in China's upstream sector are limited because Chinese oil companies don't want foreigners to acquire more than they already hold in the sector. China is more interested in technology than investment, the delegates said.