CNOOC Successfully Tests Offshore Shale Well

The South China Sea test could lead to a multibillion-barrel find.


China’s CNOOC Ltd. tested commercial flows of oil and gas from an offshore shale exploration well in the South China Sea, marking the first successfully drilled shale oil well offshore China, state media reported in early August.

Exploration well Weiye-1, drilled at the southwestern trough of Beibuwan basin, tested daily production of 126 bbl of oil and 1589 m3 of natural gas. CNOOC estimated that the shale oil resources in the entire basin are about 8.8 billion bbl, suggesting good exploration prospects.

With the Chinese government stressing added volumes for its domestic energy supply security, national oil companies are making greater efforts to tap shale deposits despite being tougher to drill and more expensive. As of late 2021, China produced only 35,000 B/D of shale oil, mostly in the onshore northern Ordos basin and northwestern Jungar basin.