China increases output target of largest domestic oilfield

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By Andy Scott

Mar. 24 – China’s largest oilfield, Daqing, increased its setimated output target to 40 million tons annually in the coming decade.

The Daqing oilfield produced 41.7 million tones of oil in 2007, slightly above the target of 41.62 million tons Xinhua reported.

The oilfield’s change in output target is related to China’s rising thirst for oil. In 2007 alone, the country imported 163.17 million tons of oil, a 47 percent increase from the mid-nineties according to the National Bureau of Statistics. At current rates of growth in consumption, China will need to import about two-thirds of its total oil requirement by 2015.

The Chinese government, which has long viewed dependency on foreign oil as a strategic weakness, is quite concerned about its declining domestic production of fossil fuel energy. It has actively sought to better exploit its current domestic resources and encourage oil and mineral exploration in its territory. PetroChina’s announcement last year of the discovery of the Bohai Bay oil field that could reach 10 million tons a year by 2010 could not have come at a better time for the oil thirsty country.

China’s extreme need to develop its national oil production has led the government to deregulate its oil markets in an effort to promote high-tech transfer and foreign expertise in the field by encouraging foreign investors to move in.

In 2007, Sinopec, Exxon Mobile and the Saudi Arabian-based Aramco signed a deal last year for a mega-petrochemical expansion project and a fuel marketing venture in Fujian province to tap demand in southeastern China. According to Exxon Mobile at the time the deal marked the first fully integrated refining, petrochemical and fuels marketing joint venture project with foreign participation in China.