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China drills 7km borehole in ‘roof of the world’ in oil and gas hunt

8/04/2014 by


Chinese exploration teams have drilled their deepest borehole yet in the “roof of the world”.

They have punched a seven-kilometre borehole into the Tibetan Plateau in their bid to tap the region’s oil and natural gas resources.

It is the deepest borehole ever drilled at such extreme altitudes, according to mainland scientists who are following the project.

Tibet’s remoteness, thin air and lack of infrastructure have so far saved it from the unchecked exploration and extraction of fossil fuels and minerals elsewhere in the country.

But the government wants to lessen the country’s dependence on oil imports and is funding domestic scientific research to the hilt.

The latest project is shrouded in secrecy. Professor Li Haibing, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, would not reveal the project’s location and declined to identify which state-owned oil companies were active in the region.

But Li, who led one of the largest scientific drilling projects in Tibet, said: “Tibet’s altitude and geology make it among the world’s most difficult drilling locations. Fragmented [geological] structures, prone to collapse, increase the risks”.

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