Chinese developments in depth

August 22, 2011

ABS/CCSPictured (from left) at the inaugural joint ABS/CCS meeting on China's deepwater developments are: SL Chiu, ABS Greater China division deputy general manager; Richard Pride, ABS Greater China division president and COO; Weiping Hu, deputy director general oil & natural gas in the National Energy Administration of China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC); Li Kejun, CCS chairman and president; Christopher Wiernicki, ABS CEO and president; Guangqin Zhang, CANSI President; Hengyi Zeng, CNOOC vice chief engineer, and KW Lee, ABS regional VP, Northern China.

Leading offshore industry professionals gathered in Beijing in June to discuss the growing importance of deepwater exploration and production developments offshore China.

Hosted jointly by the US and Chinese classification societies, ABS and CCS, a June meeting in Beijing explored wide-ranging issues around the theme of 'Deepsea developments in the China offshore industry'.

More than 100 representatives from the Chinese government, shipbuilders, designers, research institutes, energy corporations and universities attended. Topics included a discussion of the global energy market outlook from research firm Infield Systems, the challenges and latest solutions proposed for deepwater development from offshore solutions technology leader Horton Wison and a look at risk-based operations and new approaches toward minimizing risk with deepwater exploration from global engineering, procurement and construction firm WorleyParsons.

ABS discussed regulatory changes resulting from the Macondo incident in the Gulf of Mexico and the broader impact on regulatory schemes worldwide while CCS highlighted the impact of deepwater development on the technology standards for the region's offshore industry.

'This industry meeting illustrates the co-operative spirit between ABS and CCS,' said ABS CEO and president Christopher Wiernicki. 'Over the past decade, China has significantly grown in its importance to both the maritime and offshore industries. With our experience and leadership in setting standards for the offshore industry, ABS can bring valuable assistance to the region as it faces new exploration and production challenges.'

It is this experience that led to ABS' and CCS' joint involvement on the huge Liwan 3-1 gas field development in the South China Sea, explained Wiernicki. Liwan 3-1 is China's largest offshore natural gas discovery to date and will be its first deepwater development project.

China has begun to invest heavily in deepwater exploration as the country's economic growth demands more energy resources, said Li Kejun, CCS chairman and president. 'We are helping to support our country's efforts by providing the technical guidance necessary for safe and efficient exploration. This industry meeting shows our commitment to helping achieve deepsea technological advancements in the region.'

Also in attendance was Guangqin Zhang, president of the China Association of the National Shipbuilding Industry (CANSI). Though challenged by the global economic recession, Chinese shipbuilders have nonetheless continued their rapid diversification into the gas and offshore sectors. 'Meetings such as these contribute to the intellectual discussion and allow for the introduction of new offshore technologies in our shipyards, new technologies that will position the region for successful deepsea exploration,' Zhang said.

Describing the event as a milestone in China's deepwater development, Hengyi Zeng, vice chief engineer for China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), concluded by extending the meeting's thanks to both class societies for the 'years of support and co-operation they have provided to expand China's offshore development'.

ABS and CCS have been working together since 1993 but in November last year they strengthened their collaborative efforts by entering into a new co-operative agreement with offshore as a key area of focus for both organizations.

In May this year ABS also established its China Offshore Technology Center (COTC) in partnership with Shanghai Jiaotong University (SJTU). While the research efforts will support development activities in the Greater China region, applied research will also be conducted on a wide range of energy development issues. The COTC is ABS' fourth offshore-focused research center around the world. The ABS Greater China Division has more than 500 employees operating from more than 30 offices across mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Following an ABS management reshuffle late May, Richard Pride has stepped up from VP operations to president and COO of the ABS Greater China division. Pride has gained extensive experience in China following earlier assignments in Europe and Asia. Assisting him as VP operations for the Greater China division will be Paul Karam, previously VP Northern Pacific within the ABS Pacific division.

Elsewhere in the region, Eric Kleess is relocating to Singapore from Houston to become the new president and COO of the ABS Pacific division. Assisting Kleess as SVP operations will be Stephen Auger.



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