China-built deep-water drilling rig achieves a first in South China Sea

By Yang Sheng Source:Global Times Published: 2019/4/11 16:58:40

New gas well a stable energy supply for Greater Bay Area

China's first self-developed deep-sea semi-submersible drilling platform recently completed its first deep-water well in the South China Sea, which analysts said  will guarantee a stable energy supply for the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

The well, designated HYSY-981, also known as "Offshore Oil 981" is located in the eastern waters of the South China Sea, and is a high angle directional well. The well is 4,660 meters deep and reaches a true vertical depth of 2,529 meters, according to a news release on  the website of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC) on Wednesday. 

This is the first deep-water  well drilled by China-built drilling platform. Previously, all other deep-water oil or gas wells in Chinese territory have been drilled by foreign-made drilling platforms, it said. 

After going into production, gas from the well will be transported to a terminal at Gaolan port in Zhuhai, South China's Guangdong Province, to supply the needs of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, said Zhao Chunyan, manager of the 981 platform.   

"This is a remarkable achievement in the South China Sea. China has spent a lot on exploring energy in the region and this shows that we can finally use the resources to sustainably serve our development goal," Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Unlike some other regions in China which can take multiple measures to guarantee their energy supply, such as pipelines and domestic oil wells, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area relies heavily on imports from other countries through sea routes, Lin said. "So a gas well close to the area can greatly reduce the pressure on securing the stable energy supply."

Han Xiaoping, chief analyst at energy industry website, said that exploring and drilling in such deep-water areas are very challenging and require very advanced technological capabilities and expertise.

"Not only do you need to put a lot of investment [into the project], but you also need to have advanced engineering and manufacturing capabilities," Han told the Global Times, adding that China's fast progress in these areas "could be unprecedented."

Since it was built in 2012, the 981 platform has completed drilling 32 exploratory wells, but this is the first deep-water development well. 

A development well is drilled in a proven producing area for the production of oil or gas. An exploratory well is a well drilled with the intent to discover a new petroleum reservoir.

The platform's first exploratory well was drilled in the eastern waters of the South China Sea the same year it was built. 

In 2015, it entered waters in Southeast Asia to drill an exploratory well in waters that were 1,721 meters deep, according to the SASAC website.
Newspaper headline: Domestic deep-water well completed

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