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New Technology Used to Boost Oil Reserves

China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), the nation's leading oil and gas producer, said new technology helped its flagship Daqing oilfield increase reserves by 390 million tons, boosting industry confidence that the northeastern field will remain the country's major oil-producing region.

"We have made a lot of improvements in our home-grown technology, used to increase efficiency in exploring new reserves around the periphery of Daqing, operating new wells and redeveloping the old ones," CNPC said in a statement posted on its website yesterday.

The announcement marks another resource discovery breakthrough following major gas finds in the northeastern region made by both CNPC and its domestic rival Sinopec during the past few months.

Beijing-based CNPC announced the discovery of a large-scale gas field with reserves of up to 100 billion cubic meters (bcm) at the end of last year, and Sinopec said in July that it aimed to secure three medium- or large-sized natural gas finds with reserves of 60 bcm in Northeast China by 2008.

Zhang Kang, a senior geologist with Sinopec, said new discoveries in Northeast China raised the potential of there being more gas reserves in the region.

"We have been working on the exploration of oil and gas in the region for quite a long time and the new finds are very positive signs," Zhang said.

Jiang Jiemin, president of CNPC's listed arm PetroChina, last month disclosed that Daqing's annual production should be above 40 million tons of oil equivalent in 2010, and stay at that level up to 2020 using new technology.

"It will remain an important oil field for PetroChina," he said after the company reported that interim earnings had jumped more than 29 percent in Hong Kong.

Daqing oil output dipped about 3 percent to 44.95 million tons in 2005, but that still accounted for around a quarter of China's domestic production. China consumed 327.3 million tons of oil last year, of which 180.8 million tons was pumped from its domestic fields.

The nation's economy expanded by 10.9 percent in the first half, a record speed for a decade, fuelling the need for oil, fuels and petrochemicals that the PetroChina-led oil companies produce.

According to the International Energy Agency, the world's second-biggest energy consumer may use 6.5 percent more oil this year.

PetroChina increased first-half oil and gas output by 6.8 percent to meet the soaring energy demand, adding new fields such as Changqing in the northwestern region.

(China Daily September 7, 2006)

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