China fires up first offshore oilfield running on shore power

Chinese state-owned oil and gas giant China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) has boosted its low-carbon efforts by bringing online the first oilfield in the South China Sea, which is receiving power from shore.

Illustration; Source: CNOOC

While confirming the production start-up from the Wushi 23-5 oilfield development project, CNOOC explained that the main production facilities include two new wellhead platforms and the renovated Wushi terminal, with 43 development wells planned to be brought on stream, including 28 oil wells and 15 water-injection wells.

Located in the Beibu Gulf of the South China Sea, with an average water depth of approximately 28 meters, the project is anticipated to achieve a peak production of approximately 18,100 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2026, with the oil property deemed light crude. This is aligned with the firm’s business strategy and development plan for 2024.

According to the Chinese giant, the project marks the first full-scale green design oilfield offshore China, entailing low-carbon development throughout the design, construction, and production process. As a result, this is said to be the first oilfield in the South China Sea supplied with power from shore.

CNOOC, which holds 100% interest in the project and acts as the operator, expects to realize full-process recovery and utilization of the associated gas through integrated natural gas treatment. The commissioning of Wushi 23-5 is expected to pave the way for CNOOC’s further green and low-carbon development.

This oilfield has come online only days after another one was brought on stream in the South China Sea. The Chinese heavyweight also started production from a gas project in the Bohai Sea off the coast of China in May 2024 and disclosed a significant oil discovery in the northcentral waters of the Bohai Sea two months before, which followed the one the firm disclosed in the eastern South China Sea.