At present, China has three major deepwater oil and gas fields located in the Qiongdongnan and Pearl River Mouth basins in the South China Sea (SCS) at water depths ranging from 300 m to over 1500 m. In this paper we compare the geology, reservoir and fluid properties and development concepts of these deepwater fields with those in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), Nigeria and Brazil. Based on this comparison, we have identified several key subsurface challenges and opportunities for future deepwater field developments in the SCS. Major subsurface challenges include smaller in-place volumes, heavier oil, lower reservoir energy and higher reservoir temperature. Opportunities identified include locating continental margin systems with high accommodation volumes and thick sandstone supply, use of alternative development concepts such as Floating Liquified Natural Gas (FLNG) and complaint platforms with dry tree wells and learnings from the recent development of lower-permeability reservoirs in deepwater GOM and the heavy oil deepwater developments and CO2 handling techniques in Brazil.

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