CNOOC shale well in Beibuwan Basin flowing with oil, gas
Published: Jul 28, 2022 11:27 PM
Oil workers in Karamay, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, prepare for drilling at an oil field on March 16, 2022. Xinjiang resumed and started 4,467 major projects as part of a drive to stabilize investment. Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

China's National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) announced on Thursday successful tapping of flows of oil and gas out of an offshore shale oil exploration well, the first drilled shale oil well offshore in China, a major breakthrough in the country's offshore shale oil drilling that will reduce reliance on imports and improve energy security.

Exploration well Weiye-1, located at the southwestern trough of the Beibuwan Basin in the South China Sea, tested daily production of 20 cubic meters of oil and 1,589 cubic meters of natural gas, the Shanghai Securities Journal reported.

According to estimates, the shale oil resources in the entire Beibuwan Basin are about 1.2 billion tons, showing good exploration prospects.

The announcement came after the National Energy Administration held a meeting on July 24 calling for improved oil and gas exploration capacity, as part of China's efforts to ensure adequate supplies in dealing with external uncertainties, including geopolitical conflicts and worldwide inflation.

China is an import-dependent country in terms of oil and gas, with more than 70 percent of the oil coming from abroad while the successful tapping of the commercial flows of oil and gas from the well is a step further toward higher energy security by reducing import reliance, industry experts said.

"The technical difficulty of shale oil extraction is relatively high, and the cost is elevated…how to reduce the cost of production ... is always a question," Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, told the Global Times on Thursday.

The success of the first offshore shale oil drilling marks the realization of the independent exploration and development of China's offshore shale oil and gas resources with self-developed technology, said Xu Changgui, general manager of the Exploration Department of CNOOC, the reported on Thursday.

According to incomplete statistics, the recoverable reserves of shale gas in China exceed 30 trillion cubic meters, ranking first in the world, domestic news outlet reported earlier.

The Weiye-1drilling breakthrough represents a marked technical progress, but the next step is to stand the test of economics, Lin said.