Independents are moving along in their pursuit of international rewards. Executives with some companies that operate abroad shared their experiences recently at a forum sponsored by IHS Energy in Houston. In Asia, activity has been affected by national oil companies, said Carl Scharpf, China exploration manager, Burlington Resources. China's CNOOC especially is an important ally for companies exploring in Asia, he said. During the last 10 years, national oil companies have discovered 5.8 billion barrels of oil and 94 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of gas. International oil companies have discovered 5.9 billion barrels and 77 Tcf, Scharpf said. China has been home to the largest number of oil discoveries in the last 10 years, but Vietnam boasts the largest average field size. For gas, Indonesia contains the most fields, but Bangladesh has the biggest average field size. Ian Cross, vice president, IHS Energy, said Asian governments have been surprisingly helpful to international oil companies wanting to do business there. "I feel they've been doing quite a lot," Cross said. Malaysia has a deepwater round scheduled for late 2003. Sri Lanka plans an offshore round in late 2003, Thailand plans its 19th round in 2004. -Jodi Wetuski