01/05/2012, 00.00
VIETNAM - CHINA

China wants oil and gas in Vietnam’s waters, exploration to begin soon

by Paul N. Hung
Beijing is preparing to send a huge ship and an oil rig to start exploration, raising concerns over environmental consequences and sovereignty issues with Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.
Da Nang (AsiaNews) – A Chinese official said that China will soon send a huge ship, the Marine Oil and Gas 708, and a huge oil rig, the Marine 981, to explore for oil and gas in deep waters in 2012, in the South East Sea (or South China Sea as the Chinese call it). However, he did not say in which part of the sea. Built in China, the Marine Oil 708 can explore oil and gas at a depth of 3,000 m and drill at 600 m under the sea. The ship is 105 m long and 23.4 m wide. It is equipped with advanced probes and can withstand wave level 12.

The huge oil rig Marine 981 is also preparing to drill an oil well in deep waters in the South East Sea in 2012. The huge drilling rig can operate at depths of 3,000 m and drill at depths of 10,000 m under sea. Its operational capacity is more than 18 times greater than existing oil rigs.

In the past few decades, the possibility of oil deposits in the South East Sea has unleashed a dispute over sovereignty (of the Spratly and Paracel Islands) involving China, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei. Countries like Vietnam and the Philippines cannot easily explore oil and gas at such depths.

“We always should come first, when competing with the resources. The resources are not able to re-create as well as not infinite in the disputed maritime area,” said a Chinese Communist official, head of the Centre for Energy and Economy Research of a University.

“The deepwater drilling rigs will be brought to the destination by powerful tugs.” This will “help China establish a more significant presence in the vast seawaters in the South East Sea that have not yet been explored,” China’s The Global Times wrote.

China claims 85 per cent of the ocean waters in the South East Sea, including Vietnam’s Paracel and Spratly Islands.

The Chinese intend to invade the seawaters of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei. Every day, China is more drastic for exploring oil and gas on the South East Sea. They are intentionally rejecting the sovereignty of other countries in the region.

Although China’s regime does not yet have powerful naval forces to protect the drilling rigs, the huge oil rigs are typical of the ways this powerful Communist country threatens other countries.

Indiscriminate exploitation will also pollute the marine environment of the South East Sea in the near future. Residents of other countries will suffer the most because of the high risk of oil spills.

Hundreds of millions people will thus no longer earn a living from the sea because of the ambition and aggressive nature of Chinese imperialism.
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