PetroChina, China’s largest and most profitable oil and gas producer, said its Xinjian branch has churned out more than 100 million tonnes of heavy crude oil, thanks to its innovative technologies, Xinhua reported.

The Xinjiang Oilfield Company said that it produced 4.32 million tonnes of heavy crude oil last year and has become China’s largest production base for high-quality naphthenic base heavy oil, a rare raw material for industrial products such as rocket propellant, the report said.

Qian Genbao, chief technical expert with the company, said that technological innovations have helped the company raise the efficiency of heavy oil recovery by 30 percentage points to over 60 percent. The company said its new technologies have also been applied in oilfields in northeast China, as well as in Kazakhstan, Canada and Venezuela.

PetroChina posted a 130.7 per cent year-on-year increase in net profit for 2018 to 52.59 billion yuan (US$7.86 billion), and is forecast to report a net profit of 57.5 billion yuan, according to a Bloomberg poll.

This week, Forbes reported that China’s initiative to increase 2019 capital investment in oil exploration to US$77 billion, signals a new strategic direction. The goal is to increase domestic production by 50%, up more than 2 million barrels per day over the next five years.