If there was any doubt that China’s numerous big oil deals this year have little to do with neo-colonialist aspirations and everything to do with security of supply, comments from CNOOC chief Xie Luhong are rather telling: the company plans to drill far deeper than it has before in order to double its production of offshore oil and gas.
Cnooc plans to work with foreign partners to drill the first deepwater wells in the area next year, Xie said, without naming the companies. “The water depth might be between 1,500 meters (4,921 feet) and 1,800 meters,” he said.
That’s about 10 times the depth the company currently drills:
The company currently drills at a water depth of as much as 180 meters in the region, according to Xie. “There is huge potential in the deepwater blocks in the South China Sea, most of which are expected to hold natural gas resources,” Xie said.
While it’s not quite the 11km-plus depths being faced by BP in the Gulf of Mexico’s Tiber prospect, it will still likely require some more deepwater expertise than Cnooc currently has. Cnooc is already partnering on exploration in the western part of the South China Sea with BG Group, Devon Energy and Roc Oil.