Cnooc Makes `Important' Oil Discovery in Bohai Bay off North China Coast

Cnooc Ltd., China’s largest offshore energy explorer, said it has made an “important” discovery in the Penglai 9-1 block in Bohai Bay.

Test drilling at a well yielded an average flow of 540 barrels of oil a day, the Beijing-based company said in a statement on its Web site today.

Rising energy demand in the world’s fastest-growing major economy has prompted Cnooc to boost production off the nation’s coast. The oil and gas explorer plans to more than double output in Bohai Bay in five to six years, the company said in 2007.

“This discovery opens up a new prospect for exploration in Bohai Bay,” Zhu Weilin, executive vice president of the company and general manager of the exploration department, said in the statement. “With further appraisals in the future, PL9-1 is expected to become a significant discovery in this area.”

The shares fell 3.1 percent to HK$13.56 in Hong Kong trading at the midday break, before the announcement of the discovery. The benchmark Hang Seng Index declined 1.6 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Baizhen Chua in Beijing at bchua14@bloomberg.net

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