Oil expected from Chad as Taiwan strives for energy self-sufficiency

Taipei, Oct. 25 (CNA) Taiwan's state-run energy supplier, CPC Corp.,Taiwan, is expected to receive its first barrel of crude oil from Chad in 2019, a senior official at the company has revealed. CPC started investing in the Chad oil field in 2006, with exploration taking place the following year, said Liao Tsang-lung (???), CEO of CPC's Exploration and Production Business Division. Output is slated to begin in 2019, Liao said, noting the company is now negotiating with the Chad government about piping the oil. Taiwan does not have abundant energy resources and relies on imports for almost all of its fossil fuel needs. To secure the country's energy security, CPC has been tasked with stabilizing oil and gas supplies, and easing the impact of oil price shocks through exploration and production abroad, according to the company. CPC is working with international oil companies to explore 25 fields in eight countries, including Chad, Niger, Ecuador, Indonesia, Australia and the U.S., Liao said. In terms of domestic exploration and production, the annual output of natural gas is 350-400 million cubic meters per year, he added. Liao emphasized the importance of maintaining a level of self-production to help offset the impact of "gas supply severance" due to overseas shipment delays to the country's electricity grid. Though domestic oil and gas reserves have declined over the years, CPC intends to breathe fresh life into the country's old oil and gas fields using "new ideas and methods," Liao said. CPC is trying to secure the remaining natural gas from existing domestic fields by digging deeper or wider, he explained. For example, in the Jinshui area of Miaoli County, "We have made a promising discovery." "It is like bending a straw at a certain angle, and thereby we may discover treasure," Liao said. Also, as a mud volcano in Wandan Township of Pingtung County has been found to be "probably" having oil and gas reserves thanks to the geographic links between Pingtung and the South China Sea area that is rich in those reserves, CPC will "never be absent" from exploration in that area, Liao added. (By Milly Lin and Elizabeth Hsu)