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China’s CNOOC Ltd. CNU-T set its 2022 production target at 10 per cent above last year’s goal, while it expects its domestic crude oil output to hit a plateau by 2030 and domestic natural gas by 2035 in line with China’s peak fuel demand.

The offshore oil and gas producer targeted a record output at 600 million to 610 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) for this year, versus 545 million to 555 million boe in 2021.

The firm beat its goal last year by producing an estimated 570 million boe, CNOOC said on Tuesday.

CNOOC forecasts its domestic crude oil output to hit a peak of 60 million tonnes by 2030 and natural gas output to cap at 40 billion cubic metres by 2035.

Xu Keqiang, chief executive officer of CNOOC, told reporters on a conference call that the estimates were made based on oil and gas demand, climate change targets and the energy security situation in China.

China has pledged to achieve peak carbon emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060, but said energy security must be considered amid those efforts.

One of the industry’s lowest-cost producers, CNOOC plans to hold its capital spending for 2022 steady from a year ago at 90 billion yuan to 100 billion yuan ($17.6-billion to $19.7-billion). That compares to a record set in 2014 of 105 billion yuan to 120 billion yuan.

The offshore specialist has become the largest contributor to the rise in domestic Chinese oil production, making up 80 per cent of the total national increase in 2020, state media reported.

Its Bohai oil cluster off north China has overtaken Daqing to become the country’s biggest crude oil production base, with 2021 output hitting 30.132 million tonnes.

CNOOC’s first wholly owned deepwater natural gas field, Lingshui 17-2 in the South China Sea, also hit its designed peak rate of 10 million cubic metres in November.

For 2022, the company plans to drill 227 offshore exploration wells and 132 onshore unconventional exploration wells.

It also expects to launch 13 new projects, including the Bozhong, Kenli and Enping oil fields in China, Liza Phase II in Guyana and 3M in Indonesia.

Mr. Xu added that CNOOC expects the global oil market to be in a “tight balance” in 2022 with fuel demand likely returning to the prepandemic levels.

The company forecasts its net production in 2023 and 2024 will reach 640 million to 650 million boe and 680 million to 690 million boe respectively.

From 2022 to 2024, CNOOC’s annual absolute dividend is expected to be no less than HK$0.70 per share ($0.11).

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