Construction Begins on China's Penglai Offshore Field

Construction of the first phase of Penglai 19-3 Oilfield, the largest offshore oilfield in China, has commenced in the southern Bohai Sea.

The oilfield, with reserves of 600 million tons, is believed to be the second-largest complete oilfield after the famous Daqing Oilfield, which was discovered in 1959 in northeast China.

The Penglai 19-3 Oilfield covers an area of 50 square kilometers, and lies at a depth of between 900 and 1,400 meters near Longkou coastline in Shandong Province. It has an oil layer of 150 meters deep on average.

It was jointly prospected by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation and the Phillips Oil Corporation of the United States in 1999.

The two sides signed a contract on construction of the project on March 15 this year. The Chinese side takes 51 percent of the stake, with the remainder held by the United States.

By the end of 2002, 24 oil wells are expected to start production, with a combined annual output of 2.5 million tons. The field's annual output is expected to reach 8.5 million tons by 2005. By then, the output of the Bohai Oilfield as a while will top 20 million tons, making it China's largest offshore crude producer.

China's oil reserves total 94 billion tons, with most located on land. The country began to seek overseas cooperation for offshore oil development in 1979, as the output of many onshore oilfields had begun to decline.