CNOOC, CPC Eye Taiwan Strait's Deepwater

State oil companies China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) and Taiwan’s CPC Corp. plan to drill a well in deep waters off the island’s southwest coast, at a block in the Taiwan Strait they are jointly developing under a production sharing contract (PSC).

Tainan-Chaoshan Petroleum Operating – a 50/50 joint venture between CNOOC and CPC incorporated in February 2003 – drilled a first exploration well in Taichao in September 2003 and a second in September 2009, but both proved fruitless.

A source in the JV told Interfax Beijing Tian’an Xingda Oil Technology won the tender. Little is known about Tian’an Xingda and the company declined to comment when contacted by Interfax. The results of the 3D seismic are expected to be available by the middle of this year.

China’s Maritime Safety Administration said on 1 January that the 981 rig had left harbour in Sanya on the southern coast of Hainan province on its way to Singapore. Chinese media reported it was bound for the Indian Ocean for an unspecified overseas assignment.

China and Taiwan – rivals since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949 – have so far signed and discussed three contracts for the Taichao, Taiyang and Nanjihtao basins, CNOOC Vice President Wang Jiaxiang said at a conference in Taiwan’s capital of Taipei in December.

The Taichao Block PSC was the first petroleum contract signed between China and Taiwan, and is seen as a breakthrough for collaboration between Beijing and Taipei in the South China Sea. China lays claim to virtually the entire sea and is involved in territorial spats with other claimants, including Vietnam and the Philippines. Taiwan also claims part of the sea.

( interfaxenergy Edited by Topco)