Taiwan state agency tries to revive Asia's oldest oil field in Miaoli

Equipped with newer technologies, Taiwan's state-run energy supplier CPC Corp. is trying to revive an oil field located in Miaoli county to produce up to 70,000 barrels of crude per year.

In addition, the site would generate 400 million cubic metres of natural gas annually. Although the output is very low compared with Taiwan's annual 15-billion cubic meters of natural gas consumption, it is still precious for the resource-strapped island, CPC said.

Twisting American General Douglas MacArthur's famous quote, CPC said not only that old soldiers never die, but they will not fade away either, alluding to the company's take on the Kinsui Oil Field, the oldest of its kind in Asia.

The Kinsui Oil Field was excavated when the island was still ruled by the Qing dynasty. A rarity among oil fields around the world, it actually possesses historic value.

Due to technological limitations and diminishing oil reserves, its output has waned in recent years. However, CPC believes it has obtained the needed advanced technology to tap extra reserves. The company will be drilling in a different layer of the oil field.

After conferring with local residents and obtaining their consent, CPC has now moved on to working with the government to change the site's land category registration and getting drilling rights. The company expects to start drilling in 2017.

Other exploration effort

CPC has also been active in exploring new oil fields and apparently found a winner in Pingtung. With more advanced technologies, the company can now analyse a mud volcano in the area more thoroughly, and get a better picture of the oil and gas reserves that lie beneath, said Liao Tsang-lung, CEO of CPC's Exploration and Production Business Division.

Since Taiwan's geological structure extends all the way to Vietnam and the South China Sea, CPC's excavation experience in Pingtung will be useful to oil exploration in that region, Liao added.

One of the oil fields under CPC's command overseas lies within the central African country Chad. The company said it is ready to harvest its exploration efforts. It is trying to work out issues relating to oil pipeline connection as well as drafting a production plan that will be reviewed by the local government.

The company plans to start drilling in two years at the earliest and may produce the first barrel by 2019.