BP has signed a production sharing agreement for Block 54/11 in the deepwater Pearl River Mouth Basin with China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).

The block covers 4,586 square kilometres in water depths from 370m to 2,300 m, and sits close to exploration blocks 43/11 and 42/05 in which BP already has minority stakes.

Under the agreement, BP will cover all expenditure costs during the exploration period. CNOOC will act as the block operator with the right to a 51% working interest in any commercial discoveries in the block.

Mike Daly, BP’s executive vice president for exploration said: “This is a good addition of acreage to our deepwater portfolio in the South China Sea and deepens our close relationship with CNOOC.

“We look forward to some early results.”