China’s CNOOC Limited has begun production from its largest independent gas field in Dongfang field, located about 110 km offshore from Dongfang city on Hainan Island.

The DF 1-1 well, in about 70m of water, is located in Yinggehai of Beibu Gulf in the South China Sea. DF1-1 is to be developed in two phases, said a CNOOC statement.

Phase I consists of a central platform, a production platform and an onshore processing terminal. With 12 production wells, the designed production capacity of Phase I is about 154.8 million cubic feet per day.

After the completion of Phase II, the production capacity of the field is expected to rise to 232 million cubic feet per day. The second phase development will be brought forward to 2006 from 2008.

Natural gas from DF 1-1 Phase I will be piped to Hainan for use by fertiliser plants, power plants and city gas manufacturers.

Wei Liucheng, CNOC’s chairman and CEO, said: “The startup of gas field DF1-1 represents another milestone in the successful execution of our gas strategy. The field will provide feedstock and clean energy to Hainan while adding production and cash flow to shareholders.

CNOOC Limited is the operator and fully owns the field.