China's newly found oilfield in Bohai Bay has a reserve of one billion tons, or about 7.35 billion barrels, the largest discovery in the country over four decades, announced the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) Thursday.
The oilfield lies in the Nanpu block of the CNPC's Jidong Oilfield in Caofeidian in Tangshan City, north China's Hebei Province, said the company.
The Nanpu block, partly offshore, covers an area of 1,300-1,500 square kilometers and is expected to produce light crude. By 2004, the CNPC had discovered five onshore oil fields in the Jidong area with a total reserve of 735 million barrels and an annual output of 7.35 million barrels.
The company previously estimated that the reserve of the new oilfield was 2.2 billion barrels and the daily output would be 200,800 barrels in three years.
PetroChina, the CNPC's holding company, boasted Asia's highest profitability last year with 142.2 billion yuan (18.5 billion U.S. dollars) in annual net profit.
China's oil dependency, or net oil imports against oil consumption, went up 4.1 percentage points year on year to 47 percent in 2006, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
Last year, the nation produced 183.68 million tons of crude oil, up 1.7 percent, and imported 138.84 million tons, up 16.9 percent. Its oil consumption (crude plus oil products) amounted to 346.55 million tons, up 9.3 percent.
Industry observers forecast that in 2007, China's crude oil output will grow less than two percent, while demand for both crude and oil products will rise six percent or so. It is predicted that China's crude oil imports will reach 160 million tons.
According to the General Administration of Customs, in January China imported 13.69 million tons of crude oil, up 3.5 percent over the same month of last year, and 2.77 million tons of oil products, up 5.7 percent.
A joint venture of the United States' Phillips Oil Company and China Offshore Oil Share-Holding Company (Bohai) discovered offshore oil reserves estimated at about 200 million tons in Bohai Bay in 1999.
That was the first pool with more than 100 million tons found by a joint ventures in Bohai Bay.
The pool, "Penglai 19-3", is 70 kilometers off the north coast of Shandong Province in a 50-sq.km. area where the water is 20 meters deep.
With geological oil reserves of 600 million tons, Penglai 19-3 is the largest offshore oil field discovered in China. The project's second phase, which will officially go into production at the end of 2008, is expected to produce as much as 180,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.