ROC OIL’S China subsidiary has started drilling the first of two exploration wells in its Beibu Gulf Block, located off China’s southern coast.

The first well, WZ12 10 1, is to be drilled 4.7 kilometres east northeast from Roc Oil’s existing Beibu 12-8W facilities and is in water depth of about 35 metres.

The total depth planned for the well, which will be drilled by jackup rig HYSY 935 and will target the T42 and Weizhou West formations, is 1,539 metres.

Roc conducts exploration activities over Block 22/12, while its development and production is conducted by CNOOC.

Roc chief executive Alan Linn said the exploration program followed on from the successful exploration and development of the WZ6-12 and 12-8W fields in 2012-2013.

“It is targeting incremental volumes to the 12-8W project and the future 12-8E project and will also provide an expansion of the existing development acreage from 57.8 square kilometres to 66.6 square kilometres, allowing further future exploration and development activities,” he said.