China's state-owned oil and gas firm China National Offshore Oil Corp.(CNOOC) opened 33 shale blocks off the coast of China for bidding by foreign companies, The Wall Street Journal reported. The locations of the oil and gas blocks are spread across 48,691 square miles.
Of the 33 blocks up for bid, 17 are situated in the eastern Pearl River Mouth Basin, Platts reported. Seven of these are also located more than 1,000 meters below. Five blocks are in the Qiongdongnan Basin, four are in the East China Sea Basin, four in the South Yellow Sea Basin and two in the Beibu Gulf Basin.
The decision is spurred by China's need to satisfy growing demand for energy after oil output in the nation has steadily decreased. CNOOC reported a 2.5 percent decline in oil production in the Bohai Bay, which represents almost 60 percent of its domestic oil output, in the first half of 2014.
Last year, CNOOC listed 25 blocks for bidding, but did not disclose whether these bids were approved. About 12 of those blocks from last year's bidding round were put up again for bidding this year, Platts reported.