PetroChina’s discovery could cut China’s oil imports

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PetroChina has announced that crude oil output from the newly discovered oil field in Bohai Bay could reach 10 million tons a year by 2010-about 200,000 barrels a day or nine percent of the nation’s current oil output. This is good news for China which imported a record 3.3 million barrels of crude a day in March and 47 percent of its oil needs last year.

The discovery of a large oil field with oil reserves reaching 1,020 million tons in the region of the Jidong tidal area of Bohai Bay should help to offset China’s growing dependence on foreign oil. PetroChina announced May 3 that the Jidong Nanpu Oilfield that it had confirmed in principle, the amount of the reserve by drilling the three-level geological reserves of oil and gas, including proved reserves of original oil in place of 405 million tons, probable reserves of 298.3 million tons, possible reserves of 202.2 million tons and proved original natural gas in place of 140 million tons. 

Although the newly discovered field is huge, it is still unknown exactly how much of an impact it will have on China’s oil imports. Most of the county’s imports come from the politically unstable Middle East, and China’s leaders have long viewed dependency on foreign oil as a strategic weakness.