2012-06-27 — China National Offshore Oil Corporation, China’s third largest oil company, said Monday it will issue tender seeking joint exploitation for nine offshore blocks in the South China Sea.
The nine blocks total more than 160,000 square kilometers and 300-4,000 meters deep, according to a statement on CNOOC’s website.
Seven blocks are located in the Zhongjianan Basin and two in areas covering parts of the Wan’an and Nanweixi basins, the company said.
The move comes amid tension between the Philippines and China over the disputed Huangyan Island.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a press briefing yesterday that the tender project was a “normal business activity” in compliance with relevant Chinese laws and international practices, in response to a question that whether the company’s decision would worsen situation in the South China Sea.
He said China repeated its call for Vietnam to respect bilateral agreements regarding maritime disputes and to halt its gas exploitation program.
“China and Vietnam have reached many agreements regarding the settlement of maritime disputes.