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China’s Five Largest Oil Producing Provinces and Cities

Quick Note #2

Tianjin and Shaanxi now produce as much oil as Argentina and Malaysia, respectively.

Between 2004 and 2011, China’s domestic oil production increased by 543 thousand barrels per day—roughly 16%. In 2011, China was the world’s 5th largest oil producer, pumping approximately 4 million barrels per day (Exhibit 1).

Exhibit 1: China domestic crude oil production

Thousand barrels per day


Source: BP, National Bureau of Statistics

This rise in oil output despite declines at the country’s workhorse Daqing and Shengli fields stems primarily from the diligent efforts of drillers in the Tianjin and Shaanxi areas. Tianjin’s oil production rose from 289 kbd to 667 kbd between 2004 and 2010, while Shaanxi Province enjoyed a production increase from 306 kbd in 2004 to 603 kbd in 2010, as these two areas pumped their way into the top five Chinese oil producing provinces/administrative regions. (Exhibit 2).

Exhibit 2: China’s 5-Largest Crude Oil Producing Provinces

Thousand barrels per day


Source: National Bureau of Statistics

Drivers of Production Increases

1)      Shaanxi—the energetic drillers of Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum boosted the company’s oil output by 47% between 2005 and 2011, a rate of production growth second only to that of CNOOC. Also, PetroChina’s Changqing oilfield has rapidly developed and accounted for 205 kbd of oil production growth during the 2004-2010 time period. The field now produces more than 400 kbs of crude oil (Exhibit 3). The field, located in the Ordos Basin, is also one of China’s largest natural gas fields.

Exhibit 3: Changqing Field Crude Oil Production

Thousand barrels per day

Source: PetroChina

2)      Tianjin—the municipal area’s mature oilfields such as Dagang are home to advanced recovery operations that have bolstered production. For example, PetroChina (with the help of Schlumberger) recently drilled a well running 4.1 km horizontally under the shallow waters of the Bohai Gulf.

Tianjin also lies near the large shallow water oilfields being developed in the Bohai Bay near the cities of Tangshan and Caofeidian. Both cities are located in Hebei Province, but the fact that Heibei’s officially reported crude oil production suddenly declined by approximately 7% in 2009 while Tianjin’s rose by 15% makes us suspect that Tianjin may also be getting credit for the new production along Hebei’s coast.

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