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Offshore energy equipment sector set to develop

(China Daily)

09:20, October 11, 2011

China's largest oil rig in the South China Sea. The country will invest up to 300 billion yuan ($47 billion) in domestic marine oil and natural gas construction projects within five years. Tu Zhili / For China Daily

BEIJING - A 10-year plan to develop the country's offshore engineering equipment manufacturing industry is expected to be released by year's end, an official from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said on Monday.

The plan would support China's ambitions to expand its largely untapped deepwater oil and natural gas exploration sectors.

Drafting of the plan, which would run through 2020, is almost complete, but State Council approval is still needed, said You Shumin, head of the shipbuilding sector of MIIT's Department of Engineering Equipment Industry Division.

The program will focus on technological breakthroughs in deepwater equipment, including the development of offshore oil and natural gas development equipment and maritime solar power equipment, You said at the China International Petroleum Technology and Offshore Engineering Conference in Beijing.

She added that the plan will also encourage cross-border cooperation between Chinese companies and their foreign counterparts to lift the industry's global competitiveness.

Following a wave of deepwater oil exploration by Western countries, China has accelerated the pace of its offshore exploration in the South China Sea. Most onshore fields in China have already been fully developed.

China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC), the country's biggest offshore oil producer, said earlier that it aims to produce 50 million tons of oil equivalent from deepwater fields by the end of 2020.

CNOOC produced its first 50 million tons of oil equivalent from offshore resources in 2010. CNOOC launched its first deepwater semi-submersible drilling platform, capable of operating at depths of 3,000 meters, in May. The Shanghai-made rig, which cost CNOOC 6 billion yuan ($940 million), would mainly be used in the company's South China Sea operations.

The company plans to invest 200 billion yuan over 20 years to tap the area's oil and gas resources.

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