Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cnooc Deploys Oil Rig as Weapon to Assert China Sea Claims

China’s first deep water drilling rig began operations near an island chain in the South China Sea in a move to assert Beijing’s territorial claims as travel agencies suspended Philippines tours amid safety concerns.

Cnooc Ltd., China’s largest offshore oil producer, said its semi submersible CNOOC 981 began drilling yesterday 320 kilometers (199 miles) southeast of Hong Kong at a depth of 1,500 meters, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. The area is north of the Paracel islands claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan.

“Large deep water drilling rigs are our mobile national territory and strategic weapon for promoting the development of the country’s offshore oil industry,” said Wang Yilin, Cnooc’s chairman, according to Xinhua. The rig would help China secure energy resources in the waters, it cited him as saying.

Competition for energy reserves in the sea has increased tensions as countries shun joint development and improve their respective naval capabilities. Chinese vessels have confronted Vietnamese survey ships over the past year and have been locked in a monthlong standoff with Philippine boats over a disputed island in another area of the sea.....Read the entire article.

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