China Starts Deep Water Drilling off South China Sea
In line with the country’s entry into the deep sea oil industry, its first deep water drilling rig have started its operations yesterday in the South China Sea. A sixth generation semi submersible CNOOC 981 began drilling at a seas area of 320 kilometers southeast of Hong Kong with a water depth of 1,500 meters.
Owned by China National Offshore Oil Corp. this is the first independent deep water oil drilling conducted by a Chinese company. Investing in large deep water drilling rigs is a strategic weapon that will help develop and promote the country’s offshore oil industry. This also ensures the country’s energy security and rights over territorial waters. The deep water drilling is also the country’s first step in the gas and oil exploration in the deep water region.
The Chinese deep water drilling rig will drill to a depth of 2,335 meters to tap a reserve of an estimated 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas. Drilling done at depths greater than 300 meters is internationally recognized as deep waters and depths greater than 1,500 meters falls into the ultra deep water category.