The Bohai Bay Block 0436 Reunion

July 29, 2016

Those of us that worked to obtain block 0436 in Bohai Bay, China and were involved in the discoveries met today (July 28, 2016) in Greg Cleveland’s beautiful Memorial Area home for a 20th anniversary celebration of the first discovery. Quite a few were able to come. The block has gone back to the Chinese government now. But according to Jeff Pan, the last production manager in the Beijing office before the turnover, 150 million barrels of oil were produced! This far exceeds the minimum amount of oil production we computed before the field was developed. Below are some pictures from the party, click on any of the pictures to download a high-resolution version.

If any other attendees have good pictures to share, please email them to me and I will add them to this post. I will also be adding some historical photos as soon as I can obtain good descriptions of them.

A brief history

In the early 1990’s Mark Seely noticed that onshore oil production around Bohai Bay went right up to the water’s edge and then stopped. This gave him the idea that if Kerr-McGee could get production rights in the bay we would have a good chance of a discovery. The early exploration team was formed in 1993 and it included Mike Patterson, Mark Seely, Gene Murray, and myself (Andy May). There were others, but they didn’t make the party. We got the block in 1994, the first discovery was a non-commercial oil test, the CFD 2-1-1, in June/July of 1996. It was this event that we were celebrating. The next discovery was the CFD 11-1-1 in November of 1999. It was proven commercial after much work, many beatings, fights and angst. Right up until first oil was produced from the field the Kerr-McGee Manager of Reserves, Kurt McCaslin, would tell anyone who would listen that Bohai would never make a profit. But, it turned out that the field moved into profitability after only six months of production!

Below is a group picture taken by Greg Cleveland:

From the top, then left to right: Bao Ming Zheng, Lin Yang, Don Turner, Andy May, Debbie Casares, Mike Patterson, Ling Duan, Ian Roberts, John Campion, Mark Seely, Michael Verm, Joan Verm, Greg Cleveland , and Eugene Murray.

Below are Joan Verm, Bao Ming Zheng, Mark Seely and Don Turner enjoying their lunch:

Here we have Ian Roberts, Lin Zang, Bao Ming Zheng, Debbie Casares, and Gene Murray:

Here are Ling Duan and Ian Roberts:

Obviously, Mark Seely and Michael Verm are having a great time! Are Debbie and Joan trying to look away?

Below are Joan Verm, John Campion, Mike Patterson, Michael Verm and Andy May. This picture was taken by Baoming.

Andy May, Ian Roberts and Gene Murray. This picture was taken by Baoming.

Below is a tee shirt from when the Beijing office first opened in Lucky Tower in 1994.  The upper line says “Kerr-McGee China Petroleum LTD” and below the flags it says “Oil Finder Team in Beijing.”


Below is a picture of the oil test flare from the first test of the CFD 2-1-1 discovery in June 1996. That was exciting to see!


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