China's dominant offshore oil producer CNOOC has met this year's production target and plans to produce more oil and gas next year, according to its president Zhou Shouwei. Speaking after yesterday's extraordinary general meeting, he said the company had made this year's production target of between 125 million and 130 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe). He said next year's target would be higher. Chief financial officer Mark Qiu said in October production next year would probably remain flat from this year, but was expected to rise to between 145 million and 150 million boe in 2004 and 170 million to 175 million in 2005. Mr Zhou said CNOOC planned to spend US$1 billion to US$1.5 billion to fund acquisitions, as well as exploration and development of oil fields, in the next three to five years. The spending range is lower than the US$1.57 billion Mr Qiu spoke of in March. This year's target expenditure was US$1.6 billion, including about US$600 million spent on acquisitions. Mr Qiu said the East China Sea Xihu Trough oil development project - equally owned by CNOOC and China Petroleum & Chemical (Sinopec) - would start before the end of the year. Oil majors Royal Dutch/Shell and Unocal were widely expected to take a combined 40 per cent stake in the project, requiring about 9.3 billion yuan (about HK$8.71 billion) to develop.