Gas production has begun at Chunxiao gasfield in the East China Sea, according to an online announcement by one of the nation's three largest State-owned oil companies, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).
"The first phase of Chunxiao oil and gasfield has already entered the full-fledged production and development stage," said Zhang Guobao, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, on an inspection tour on July 23, according to CNOOC's website.
Zhang added that efforts should be accelerated to give full play of the field in taking advantage of its position and resources as well, to guarantee energy for use in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.
Accompanied by Wang Yongmin, vice-governor of Zhejiang, and managers from CNOOC's Shanghai branch, Zhang visited the drilling station of Chunxiao artesian well and listened to reports on the project's latest developments, it said.
Co-funded by CNOOC and China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec), the Chunxiao gas and oilfield project includes an exploitation platform, a gas pipeline in the seabed, a land-based terminal and a series of affiliated projects, said the report.
Located about 350 kilometres southeast of Ningbo, the field is believed to have the reserves of 70 billion cubic metres, according to the report.
Japanese media have repeatedly criticized that "China's tapping of Chunxiao gas and oilfield had surpassed the middle line of maritime space between Japan and China" and "infringed Japan's interests on the sea."
Chinese officials dispute these claims. China's exploitation of the field "was conducted at the territorial waters, on which the Japanese side has no dispute," said Qin Gang, a spokesman from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at a regular press conference in March.
"The tapping activity is a kind of normal practice that a nation exerts its sovereignty."
However, Japan has claimed the gas field lies too close to its "exclusive economic zone," a delineation not recognized by China, reports said. Japan has also reportedly claimed CNOOC might siphon off resources from deep undersea.
Source: China Daily