PetroChina to explore new areas in Xinjiang oilfields

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 March, 2014, 1:12am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 March, 2014, 6:03pm

PetroChina, the nation's largest oil and gas producer, will open areas in three oilfields in Xinjiang for exploration with local and foreign companies.

PetroChina plans to open some 100,000 square kilometres of unexplored areas in the Tarim, Jungeer and Tuha oilfields. It will also invite participation in the development of reserves in the central Tarim Basin, said company chairman Zhou Jiping.

He called for revision of existing laws and regulations to complement Beijing's order that the nation's state-backed oil and gas firms loosen their stranglehold on exploration and production.

"We need clear regulations on qualifications, such as a firm's technology and financial capability, human resources and industry experience," he told a panel of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

Zhou would not give any timeframe, or say whether the investing partner will be subject to shareholding ceilings. He said any such deals will need time so "risk-sharing" terms can be agreed upon. Regulators' approvals are also needed.

To help and give private investors confidence, Zhou suggested Beijing should revise existing resource mining laws. Existing regulations for oil and gas exploration and production were written decades ago and need to be updated, he added.

Sino-foreign oil and gas co-operations are governed under so-called production sharing contracts, where terms of risk, investment and production sharing are specified. The foreign partners bear all the exploration costs, which they can recover after discoveries are made, before further investment and revenues are shared, typically 49 per cent by the foreign party and 51 per cent by the domestic state firm.