China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) may begin deepwater gas and oil exploration after 2015 when facilities become available, Reuters has reported.

CNPC economic and technology research institute engineer Tian Honglian told delegates at the Deepwater Asia-Pacific Conference in Beijing that the company had done some exploration in the South China Sea but further development depended on government policy.

“CNPC has some blocks in Africa and the Middle East, but they are still at the beginning stages,” Honglian said.

Honglian said that some exploration had been halted because of the financial crisis and lack of equipment, Reuters reported.

Last week CNPC obtained a $30bn state loan to finance its overseas expansion.