(EnergyAsia, January 22, Thursday) — China’s CNOOC Limited said it expects to raise its net oil production to 225 to 231 million barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) this year, up from last year’s estimated 195 million BOE.

In announcing its business strategy and development plan for the year, the company is projecting 2009’s crude price to average US$60 per barrel, basis WTI, down from 2008’s average price of US$100.1 per barrel.

It is planning to bring onstream 10 new projects, eight in offshore China. Its two overseas projects to start up this year are the OML130 in Nigeria and the Tangguh LNG project in Indonesia.

CNOOC Ltd said it will step up its exploration efforts, focusing mostly on offshore China.

The company said it plans to drill more than 80 wells and acquire over 30,000 km of 2D seismic and 9,200 sq km of 3D seismic data in offshore China and overseas. It expects to more than replace its oil production through the intensive exploration programme and the development of more than 20 projects.

Yang Hua, CNOOC Ltd’s executive vice president and CFO, said: “Our capital expenditures will provide strong support to the growth in 2009 and for the next few years. In 2009, the company’s total capital expenditure is (expected) to reach US$6.76 billion, representing an increase of 19% year-on-year, in which US$4.38 billion is budgeted for development, US$1.11 billion for exploration and US$1.12 billion for production.

“With the high level of unit cost in the industry, the company will continue to exercise its stringent cost control. And as always, we will also carry out the established strategies to maintain our profitability and create more value for our shareholders.”

Chairman and CEO Fu Chengyu said: “Although there’s a downward fluctuation of oil price in the second half of 2008, we kept our business at stable pace. We are confident in a continuing production and reserves growth in 2009. Next year, our exploration and development activities will be further strengthened to facilitate our sustainable development in the future.”