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It has been 50 years since the first oil and gas discovery was made, yet much of China’s Tarim Basin is still a petroleum frontier. Fewer than 1,000 exploration wells have been drilled despite the discovery of seven fields each with recoverable reserves of 500−3,000 million boe. The great size and remoteness of the basin contribute to its under-exploration. It covers 216,000 sq mi, or about 80% of the area of Texas, and is located almost 2,000 mi from Beijing in extreme western China bordering Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan (see figure). The main reason for limited drilling, however, is that exploration has not been opened for international participation except during limited periods of time and under restrictive operating agreements. The Tarim Basin has a world-class petroleum system with a resource potential of 78 billion bbl of oil and 296 Tcfg. Every interval from Cambrian to Holocene is charged except Devonian and Triassic.
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