CNOOC to offer 9 blocks in S. China Sea for joint exploration Published: 2012-6-27 16:31:00

         Latest  News

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on June 27 iterated the legitimacy of an oil exploration plan in the South China Sea by the country's largest offshore oil producer, which is seeking foreign partners amid ongoing disputes with Vietnam over sovereignty issues.

Publishing the areas up for public bids is a "normal business activity," which is in line with relevant Chinese laws and international practices, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei during the press briefing on June 27.
China urges Vietnam to respect agreements regarding sea disputes
China on June 26 repeated its call for Vietnam to respect bilateral agreements regarding maritime disputes and halt its gas exploitation program.
China urges Vietnam to correct erroneous maritime law
The National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, on Friday urged Vietnam to correct an erroneous maritime law it passed on June 21.

 Attitudes of China and Vietnam
●"China and Vietnam have reached many agreements regarding the settlement of maritime disputes. We hope Vietnam will respect these agreements and avoid taking any action that may complicate the matter." -Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei.

●CNOOC's tender project is a "normal business activity" that is in compliance with relevant Chinese laws and international practices.

●"China's position on disputes regarding the South China Sea remains unchanged. We are committed to properly settling disputes through negotiations and joint exploitation."
●The government of Vietnam insists that the open blocks are in Vietnam's 
exclusive economic zone. According to Reuters, Vietnam's Foreign Ministry spokesman Luong Thanh Nghi said on June 26 that Vietnam strongly protests and requests that China cease invitation of international bids for oil and gas lots within Vietnam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
●Vietnam's National Assembly passed the "Vietnamese Law of the Sea," which describes China's Xisha Islands and Nansha Islands in the South China Sea as being within Vietnam's sovereignty and jurisdiction.

Details of the Cooperation

Picture left: Map of Locations for Part of Open Blocks in Waters under Jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China Available for Foreign Cooperation in the Year of 2012.

●China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) makes nine offshore areas in the South China Sea available for exploration through cooperation with foreign companies.

●The nine areas collectively total more than 160,000 square km in size:

Block JY22 16638.64 km2

Block HY10 17134.19 km2

Block HY34
17178.54 km2

Block BS16
16313.48 km2

Block DW04
15895.02 km2

Block DW22
20415.55 km2

Block YQX18
15948.66 km2

Block RJ03
22857.8 km2

Block RJ27
17742.5 km2

          View  Points

"It is the first time for CNOOC calling for foreign cooperation in oil exploitation in South China Sea in last 20 years. This is breakthrough. It can change China’s adverse situation in oil exploitation in the area."
                             - Li Jinming, professor of Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Xiamen University

Trust needed for joint oil exploitation
Cooperation can only be realized when Manila acknowledges China's sovereignty claims in the South China Sea, or at least stops raising the disputes.


The South China Sea, dubbed the "second Persian Gulf," is rich in natural resources of oil and gas. It is estimated that the area contains over 50 billion tons of crude oil and more than 20 trillion cubic meters of natural gas. The region has abundant resources of oil and natural gas, and some surrounding countries have been exploring resources there for years.

●India and Vietnam inked an agreement for joint oil exploration in the South China Sea on October 12, 2011.

●The Philippines is set to pursue oil exploration in the waters of the South China Sea, over which China has always asserted sovereignty.

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China's Ministry of Civil Affairs announced last week the establishment of Sansha city, which will administer Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha islands. The decision is more than just a response to Vietnam's maritime law, approved on June 21. 
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The nation's first indigenous deep-water drilling rig, the CNOOC 981, begins operations on May 10 in an area in the South China Sea 320 kilometers southeast of Hong Kong.

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