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Irina Slav

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China Reports Major Oil And Gas Find At Record Depths

China National Petroleum Corporation has made an oil and gas discovery with reserves estimated at 900 million tons, Chinese media reported.

The discovery was made after six years of exploration work in the Tarim Basin in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, northwestern China. The geology of the formation is challenging, the report said, requiring ultra-deep drilling, at a record 8,470 meters.

"We have grasped the geological rules of oil and gas reservoirs," said the general manager of Tarim Oilfield Company, Yang Xuewen. "In Fuman Oilfield, we have successively drilled 56 100-ton wells and found a new oil reserve area of 1 billion tons (about 907 million tonnes). This has been the largest discovery of oil exploration in the Tarim Basin in the recent decade."

The Tarim Basin is the largest oil and gas deposit in China, with discovered oil and gas reserves reaching 16 billion tons. Production of hydrocarbons from the basin is seen at 2 million tons this year, up from 1.52 million tons last year.

China has abundant oil and gas reserves but tapping them is often challenging due to geological reasons, which has so far prevented the country from shrinking its overwhelming dependence on imported oil and gas. The country depends on imports for about 70 percent of its oil needs and is on track to overtake Japan as the world's largest importer of liquefied natural gas this year.

China produced an estimated 3.87 million bpd of crude oil last year, according to a Reuters report from December. That was a 1.6-percent increase in 2019 despite the pandemic and despite China's crude buying spree fuelled by historically low oil prices. This made the country one of the top ten oil producers globally, but with demand much higher than that, it also solidified its dependence on imported oil and gas.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on June 21 2021 said:
    If it is proven, CNPC’s discovery of estimated 900 million tons of oil reserves (equivalent to 6.6 billion barrels) is one of the biggest recorded in the world. This is all the more remarkable since the Tarim region where the discovery was made is one of the most challenging oil basins in the world.

    The Tarim basin is the largest under-explored oil basin in the world. China’s insatiable thirst for oil is the impetus behind one of the world’s last great searches for big-time oil in uncommonly harsh train. Shifting dunes in the Tarim reaching 70 storeys high in some places, can entrap sturdy desert trucks. When the wind picks up, the sand can bury equipment in minutes and reclaim paths that took hours to clear. Here, trapped amid geologically complex structures under the sands, lie vast potential reserves estimated at 20 billion tons (147 bb) or almost six times China’s current proven reserves.*

    In 2020 China produced 3.80 million barrels a day (mbd) but it consumed 15.47 mbd thus necessitating average daily imports of 11.67 mbd or 75% of the its needs. China’s dependence on oil imports is projected to rise to 15 mbd or 82% by 2025 and an estimated 20.85 mbd or 87% by 2030.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

    *Source: Mamdouh G Salameh, “China, Oil and the Risk of Regional Conflict”, Survival, the IISS Quarterly, Winter 1995-96.
  • jone al sharon biriyani indian on June 26 2021 said:
    This is a chinese version of Liars poker.
    i.e. do dirty tricks to try and keep oil prices from rising.

    However as OPEC nations have realized the lies being spread by Oil importers (including USA) it is therefore very difficult to stop Crude oil hitting a target price of $200 (150% increase) by 2023.

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