PetroChina Starts Developing Offshore Block in Bohai Bay

BEIJING (Dow Jones Newswires), December 1, 2008

PetroChina Co. has started developing an offshore block in Bohai Bay with an output target of 3 million metric tons a year or 60,247 barrels a day, parent company China National Petroleum Corp. said Monday.

The Yuedong block, located in shallow water near Liaoning province, has rich reserves of heavy oil, CNPC said on its Web site, without elaborating.

Yuedong is part of the Liaohe field, China's largest heavy oil field, with annual output at 12 million tons a year or 240,986 barrels a day.

As an aging field, Liaohe faces depletion of reserves and needs Yuedong as a replacement. But CNPC said that development of Yuedong is highly risky and expensive due to active tides and a long icing period in the block.

It didn't say whether the development would be profitable amid current low oil prices.

PetroChina has formulated an overall development plan for the block, including construction of four artificial islands, an oil pipeline and one land-based processing station, it said, adding it will start trial operation of six wells next year.

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