CNPC Starts Drilling First Overseas Offshore Well

SHANGHAI (Dow Jones), Feb. 2, 2010

China National Petroleum Corp. said Tuesday it had recently started drilling its first overseas offshore exploration well as it expands its expertise to the offshore sector.

The nation's top oil and gas producer, which operates mostly in onshore fields, plans to finish drilling two wells in Sudan's Red Sea Basin Block 15 in six months, the company said in its newsletter.

Block 15 was awarded by the Sudanese government in 2005 to a consortium of five companies -- CNPC, Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional Berhad, or Petronas, Sudan's state oil firm Sudapet Co., Nigeria's Express Petroleum & Gas Co. and Sudan's Hi-Tech Group, it said.

The two wells are located 130 kilometers southeast of Sudan port and have a designed drilling depth of 3,700 meters.

CNPC, parent of Hong Kong-listed PetroChina Co. (PTR), also signed three oil and gas cooperation agreements with the government of Sudan in November, including memoranda of understandings on expanding a refinery in Sudan and greater cooperation in upstream oil and gas exploration there.

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