Vietnam Makes Bold Move For Oil In Disputed South China Sea

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Vietnam has allowed a drillship in a contested part of the South China Sea, according to an industry consultant who spoke to the BBC.

The drillship, Deepsea Metro I, on contract to Talisman-Vietnam, a unit of Talisman Energy—which Spanish Repsol bought back in 2015—is drilling about 250 miles from the Vietnamese coast.

The move is a bold one, because the block where Deepsea Metro I is drilling—called Block 136-03 by Vietnam and Wan-an Bei 21 by China—has already been leased to a company by Beijing – Hong Kong-based Brightoil, which has close ties to the Chinese government. Over the last three years, Hanoi denied Talisman-Vietnam a license to drill in the block in a bid to avoid antagonizing China, but it seems things have since changed.

The report about the start of drilling comes soon after last week, a senior Chinese military official cut short a visit to Vietnam. Fan Changlong, vice-chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, was visiting Vietnam for a “defense border meeting,” as China’s Xinhua agency reported at the time, but left early because of “working arrangements.”

The true reason for the departure, the BBC suggests, may have been news about what Deepsea Metro I is doing in the disputed area.

Last year, China lost an international arbitration case brought to the court by its neighbors, including Vietnam. Asia’s second-largest economy is claiming most of the South China Sea, building artificial islands and increasing its military presence there.

Earlier this year, China warned the U.S. to stay out of the disputed waters, although this tension has recently subsided as both countries continue to focus on the North Korea problem.

The South China Sea may hold 28 billion barrels of oil, according to an estimate from the U.S. Geological Survey from the mid-90s. With technology improvements, this figure could have since increased substantially. Vietnam has welcomed several foreign companies into its oil and gas industry, including Rosneft, and Gazprom, as well as Exxon.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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This entry was posted in Biển Đông (SCS) and tagged , , , , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net). I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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