Mon, May 22, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Chinese Petroleum mulls exploring for oil in Libya

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

State-run Chinese Petroleum Corp (CPC) is mulling over an oil exploration plan for Libya, it said yesterday, amid the warming of ties following President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) short visit to the country earlier this month.

"We are now in the preliminary stage of the plan, collecting the geologic data for evaluation," CPC spokesman David Tsao (曹明) said in a telephone interview yesterday.

The CPC may participate in alliance with its foreign rivals in a bid to reduce costs and risks, Tsao said. CPC has been interested in Libya for quite a while, but it would require one to two years before oil exploration can begin, he said.

Relations with Libya were strengthened by Chen's short visit on his way home from a nine-day trip to Latin America. And in January, Saif Gaddafi, son of Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi, visited Taiwan.

CPC has been engaged in oil exploration abroad in recent years. The Gulf of Mexico and Australia are two key places for it this year, Tsao said, while it has seen decent results in Chad, Nigeria and Ecuador.

It is estimated that overseas oil exploration could contribute some NT$30 billion (US$939 million) in profits in the future, he said.

Skyrocketing international crude oil prices contributed to CPC's NT$17.4 billion deficit in the first four months of this year, compared to its NT$16.3 billion profit in the first half of last year.

In other news, the CPC denied a newspaper report yesterday that it is planning to budget NT$250 million to bury its carbon dioxide wastes in Taisi Township (台西), Yunlin County next year. The proposal has drawn strong opposition from local residents.

"We put the plan on hold last week because of concern over the risks and costs," Tsao said, adding that there are many other options for controlling emissions.

There are many other options for controlling carbon dioxide emissions, such

as renovating refining equipment, which the company has been doing, he said.

To comply with Kyoto Protocol requirements, the CPC, which emits 9.07

million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, plans to reduce its emissions by

907,000 tonnes by 2010, he said.

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