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2015-07-07 19:30:00

CHINA'S OIL PRODUCTION UP

CHINA'S OIL PRODUCTION UP

China's crude oil output looks set to rise this year from a record in 2014 as new production from third largest producer CNOOC helps to counter reductions from its two bigger rivals.

Output growth from China would add to a global glut even as exporters such as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia produce at near record highs and U.S. shale producers keep ramping up output.

With the global oversupply as much as 2.6 million barrels per day (bpd), international crude prices have been nearly cut in half over the past year.

While there is no official Chinese production outlook, information from the biggest state oil companies indicates the nation's output will rise slightly in 2015, largely due to increased production from CNOOC Ltd, the listed unit of state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation.

"What we have spent in the last few years has laid the foundation for the production growth this year," said an employee with CNOOC's investor relations department who asked to remain unnamed. CNOOC spent 107 billion yuan ($17 billion) on capital expenditures in 2014.

Despite recent cost cuts, CNOOC has said it has already added at least 40,000 bpd of crude output this year. And it aims to increase daily domestic oil and gas output in China by at least 135,000 barrels of oil equivalent by the end of 2015, according the company's 2015 outlook.

China, the world's fourth biggest oil producer, raised its output in the first five months of this year by 1.8 percent from a year ago to 4.25 million bpd, compared with growth of just 0.1 percent over the same period in 2014. [O/CHINA6]

In 2014, China produced an annual record 4.2 million bpd.

"I think Chinese crude output is going to maintain its current levels ... and go higher before the end of the year," said Priya Narain Balchandani, director of global research for Standard Chartered.

The bank expects China's production to rise 1.6 percent this year, although growth could stall or decline in 2016.

Other analysts, including one that had forecast a decline for this year, said they are going to revise their production outlooks for China upwards.

Combined output from CNOOC and smaller producers was up 16 percent from a year ago by end-April, according to a biweekly report from the official Xinhua news agency.

China's two largest producers, PetroChina and Sinopec Corp, have both announced cuts.

PetroChina plans to shrink its worldwide output by 1.5-1.6 percent in 2015 - about 40,000 bpd - with more than 70 percent of the cuts to come in China.

Sinopec's output in China is set to fall 30,000 bpd, or about 3.5 percent, to around 820,000 bpd this year, according to its annual report.

reuters.com

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