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China starts oil production in South China Sea

Two wells already produce 8,000 bpd, CNOOC says.

By Daniel J. Graeber

BEIJING, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- China National Oil Co. said its latest startup in the South China Sea will reach a peak production rate of 40,000 barrels per day within three years.

CNOOC said it started production at the Enping 24-2 field in the shallow waters in the Pearl River basin of the South China Sea.

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"Currently there are two wells producing approximately 8,000 bpd, and the project is expected to reach its peak production of approximately 40,000 bpd in 2017," the company declared Monday.

CNOOC is trying to reverse sagging production from mature fields. During the first half of the year, production from the Bohai Bay, which accounts for more than half of all Chinese production, declined 2.5 percent from last year to 411,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

The pace of growth in Chinese oil demand is slowing along with its economy. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said in its latest monthly market report, however, it expects Chinese oil demand will increase 3.4 percent year-on-year.

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