CPC Uncorks Gas in Taiwan

TAIPEI (Dow Jones Newswires), July 29, 2010

CPC said Thursday it has made a "large" natural gas discovery at well No. 145 in Miaoli, northwestern Taiwan, estimating the well to be able to produce over 1 billion cubic meters of gas over 20 years, starting from the end of 2011.

Onshore oil and gas discoveries are quite rare in Taiwan, as most sources are gradually becoming depleted, and CPC has focused most of its exploration efforts offshore. The discovery at the over 100-year-old Miaoli well is the first onshore discovery in Taiwan since 2004, when gas was discovered in Tainan county, said a CPC public relations official, who declined to be named.

Taiwan relies on imports to meet practically all of its energy needs, and CPC has recently stepped up its efforts in upstream exploration and gas.

CPC, which is exploring for oil and gas in Australia, the U.S., Chad, Libya and Belize and produces oil in Ecuador and Indonesia, is cooperating in oil and gas with China's three oil majors--China National Petroleum Corp., Cnooc Ltd. and China Petrochemical Corp.--both in the Taiwan Strait and globally.

After drilling to a depth of 3,800 meters since May of this year, workers discovered new deposits of oil and gas at the No. 145 Chuhuangkeng well, CPC said in the statement. The company plans to drill two more wells in the area to boost output.

From 1959 through last year, CPC produced a total of 48.3 billion cubic meters of gas onshore, the CPC official said. The largest gas producing well so far onshore Taiwan is Miaoli's Tiejhenshan, which produced 24.4 billion cubic meters of gas from 1959 through 2009, and No. 145, which produced 12.4 billion cubic meters during the same period, she said.

In 2009, Taiwan consumed 11.63 billion cubic meters of natural gas, mostly for power generation, according to data from the Bureau of Energy.

The company also plans to expand gas exploration offshore of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan. The area now has proven reserves of 6 billion cubic meters of gas, and the expanded 1,800 square-kilometer area may have potential reserves of 100 billion cubic meters, company officials said last year.

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