China National Offshore Oil Corp plans to invest US$29.2 billion in exploring deep-sea oil and gas fields in the South China Sea over the next 12 years, the South China Morning Post reported. The parent of Hong Kong-listed oil firm CNOOC said the explorations were key to the company’s long-term growth. The investment is expected to prove geological reserves of 22 billion barrels of oil equivalent and an annual output of 350 million barrels by 2020. Recent falls in global crude prices had caused concern about the company’s short-term economic viability. The US$29.2 billion will be spread among China National’s listed units and overseas partners, which will also share in output and subsequent costs.