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ConocoPhillips to restart some China Penglai oil wells to reduce pressure

ConocoPhillips will restart a number of wells at the Penglai 19-3 oilfield in China's Bohai Bay to discharge fluid from the reservoir and reducereservoir pressure, CNOOC Ltd said in a statement published on Monday.

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The "depressurization" and "sealing" plans to reduce reservoir pressureand seal seep sources submitted by ConocoPhillips require approvals fromChina National Offshore Oil Corp. -- CNOOC's state-owned parent company.

"The general principle for depressurization established in the Plan isto discharge fluid and reduce pressure from the wells located at the highpressure zones or near the natural fault," CNOOC said.

"The [sealing plan] outlines measures to drill wells intended to provideadditional sealing barriers and to reduce pressure in targeted zones,"ConocoPhillips said in a statement on its website.

Under the sealing plan, ConocoPhillips will carry out drillingactivities and other related operations on six wells in the area of platformsB and C, as additional measures for sealing seep sources.

The latest steps are not an indication of a resumption of normaloperations, the US company said.

"We are implementing a plan, as directed by [the] authorities, to[depressurize] and safeguard the reservoir," it said.

Earlier this month, the State Oceanic Administration ordered a completeshutdown of production at the Penglai 19-3 oil field and said that it willmake claims against the US oil major for damage to the marine environment dueto an oil spill.

ConocoPhillips is the operator of the field, with a 49% interest, whileCNOOC holds the majority 51% stake.

--Calvin Lee, calvin_lee@platts.com