South Korea’s SK Innovation strikes oil offshore China


South Korea’s SK Innovation has reported making an oil discovery in the block 17/03 in the Pearl River Mouth Basin in the South China Sea.

This marks SK innovation’s first discovery in the area since its decision to push forward with offshore oil exploration projects as an operator in the South China Sea.

Since its signing of block 17/03 PSC in February 2015, SK innovation has been focusing its technical capabilities on geological and geophysical surveys. In December 2017, it drilled its first exploration well into 2,014m depth and found 34.8m net oil pay. The oil production of the well was tested up to 3,750 barrels per day.

SK innovation plans to drill follow-up appraisal wells to assess reserves and commerciality of the project.

SK innovation currently holds 80% working interest in the block, and 20% is held by CNOOC, the Chinese stated-owned company specializing in offshore oil and gas.

A spokesperson from SK innovation said, “SK innovation was the first private company in Korea to step into the upstream oil and gas business, and the company’s focus on technical expertise ever since its beginning in 1983 led to this significant milestone. Once the commerciality of the project in PRMB is secured, SK innovation will use it as a platform of growth into other areas in the South China Sea”

SK innovation first started its oil and gas business in 1983 by acquiring interests in Karimun Block, Indonesia, and has been focused mainly on conventional oil and gas in areas such as Peru, Vietnam and Middle East.

In 2014, it acquired two unconventional oil and gas assets in the U.S. which currently produce around 2,500 boepd. SK innovation’s net reserves amount to 530mmboe with daily production at 55kboe from 13 blocks in 9 countries globally. In the South China Sea, SK innovation holds operatorship (exploration) for two additional PSCs – 04/20 and 17/08.

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