Chinese offshore operator CNOOC Ltd is preparing to begin a deep-water drilling campaign in December for developing the Lingshui 25-1 deep-water gas field in the Qiongdongnan basin, in the South China Sea.

The first well in the programme is set for spudding on 8 December, following the recent award of a contract for dozen subsea production systems to Baker Hughes’ unit Vetco Gray.

An industry official familiar with CNOOC Ltd’s plan told Upstream drilling contractor China Oilfield Service Ltd is mobilising the deep-water semi-submersible drilling rig Bluewhale to drill the 12 production wells.