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China’s Oil Giant CNOOC Raises Output and Capex Targets to Record Highs

China’s state-held oil and gas giant CNOOC Limited hiked on Thursday its oil and gas production targets and capital expenditures to record-high levels as it looks to boost reserves and production.

CNOOC, whose net oil and gas production hit an all-time high of 675 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) in 2023, now aims at an output of between 700 million and 720 million barrels of oil equivalent this year as it significantly raised its production targets in the 2024 business strategy and development plan.

Of the targeted production levels this year, production from China and overseas is expected to account for approximately 69% and 31%, respectively, CNOOC said in a statement.

The net production target for 2025 was set at 780 million to 800 million boe, and output in 2026 is planned to further rise to between 810 million to 830 million boe.

CNOOC has budgeted capital expenditure for 2024 at between $17.6 billion (125 billion Chinese yuan) and $19 billion (135 billion yuan), compared to capex of $18 billion (128 billion yuan) for 2023. If spending nears the top end of the guidance range this year, CNOOC’s capital expenditures will hit a new all-time high after the 2023 record.

The company expects major new projects in China and the Mero3 project in Brazil to “strongly support production growth” this year.

CNOOC will also look to boost natural gas exploration activity in the South China Sea, the Bohai Sea, and onshore China.

In November, CNOOC started production from the first development phase of its Bozhong 19-6 offshore condensate gas field in the central Bohai Sea offshore eastern China.

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In October, CNOOC announced the discovery of what Chinese media are referring to as a large, deep-reservoir coalbed methane field with proven geological reserves of over 100 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas. A discovery of this magnitude represents CNOOC’s second major onshore gas discovery, which was heralded as a major step toward expanding China’s unconventional production.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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