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China has recently become a focal point of interest of the world petroleum industry for several reasons.
1. Enormous reserves have been predicted for the country (on the order of Saudi Arabia) as well as a significant future potential as a world supplier of oil.
2. The Chinese political situation has improved markedly and American technology now is at the top of China's industrial shopping list.
3. United States and European oil companies have held discussions with China concerning future joint-interest offshore ventures in Chinese waters.
4. Some drilling contractors have had at least informal discussions concerning future operations in the country.
5. Many Chinese petroleum delegations have been visiting the United States in recent months, holding far-reaching technical discussions with United States oil companies and suppliers.
China considers information about its petroleum operations (reserves, drilling and production statistics, potential, etc) to be a state secret and little or no "hard" data have been made available for many years. However, on the basis of visits over the past year to China's two largest oil-producing areas and its most active offshore area, plus extensive discussions with several hundred engineers, geologists, and production supervisors, it has been possible to draw some basic conclusions about state-of-the-art of China's petroleum industry. These judgments, which stem from the collective observations of two technical petroleum delegations to the People's Republic of China, do not agree with some published U.S. government statements concerning China's potential, nor with some of the co clusions drawn by other outside observers.
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