Company News

    China makes major gas hydrate find  date:2017-05-19

    China has declared that it has made a major gas hydrate find in the Pearl River Mouth basin of the South China Sea, further confirming the high gas hydrate potential in the area.

    The discovery well was drilled by new ultra-deepwater semi-submersible rig Bluewhale 1  built by Chinese yard CIMC Raffles at Shenhu area of the South China Sea, about 285 kilometres south-east of Hong Kong. 

    For seven days until 17 May, the well flowed a total 113,200 cubic metres of gas, with the highest daily outflow hitting 35,000 cubic metres. The methane content has been recorded as high as 99.5%.

    Sponsored by Geological Survey Administration of the Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR), the drilling, which started on 28 March, was conducted in water depths of 1266 metres, with the well depth hitting a depth of 277 metres.

    China is one of the countries with the highest gas hydrate reserve potentials. In the South China Sea, the gas hydrate in place is estimated at 70 billion tonnes of oil equivalent, according to CIMC Raffles.

    Jointly operated by CIMC Raffles unit Blue Whale Offshore Engineering and China Petroleum Offshore Engineering (CPOE), which is wholly owned by China National Petroleum Corporation, Blue Whale 1 sailed from CIMC Raffles yard in Yantai on 6 March following mobilisation, reaching the drilling site after eight days.

    CPOE chartered the rig in August last year for a three-well campaign targeting gas hydrate reservoirs in the Shenhu area.

    The dynamically-positioned rig, built to Frigstad Engineering’s D90 design, is capable of operating in water depths up to 3658 metres and drilling to a total depth of 15,240 metres.

    Methane hydrates are solid materials consisting of methane and water, which become crystallised under low temperature and high-pressure conditions.