CNOOC To Begin Deepwater Gas Production In South China Sea In 2021


By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com- Sep 24, 2019, 12:00 PM CDT

China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) targets its deepwater natural gas project Lingshui 17-2 in the South China Sea to begin producing natural gas at the end of 2021, a company official told Reuters on Tuesday.

CNOOC and other major state-owned oil and gas firms in China have pledged to boost their natural gas production. As per government policy, China is looking to increase its natural gas production, especially shale gas output, to reduce its import dependence while demand continues to grow in the foreseeable future.

Lingshui 17-2 in the South China Sea, 150 kilometers (93 miles) southwest from the Hainan province’s coast, is a key deepwater gas field 100-percent operated by CNOOC. It is seen as a test of how the Chinese offshore explorer and producer would fare in operating a deepwater gas field alone, without the support of partners like Total or Exxon with which CNOOC holds stakes in offshore projects outside China.

The Lingshui field was discovered in 2014—the first discovery CNOOC had made as an operator, with its own semisubmersible rig and crew, Wood Mackenzie said back then. In September 2014, the field was expected to revive interest from international oil majors in deepwater exploration offshore China, but then came the oil price crash that crippled investment available for risky deepwater drilling and companies backed off uncertain high-cost ventures.

Now CNOOC expects first gas production at Lingshui 17-2 at the end of 2021, while WoodMac’s Research Director for Asia Pacific Upstream, Angus Rodger, sees first gas in 2022, considering that it will be a new deepwater project with little existing infrastructure in place.

Aker Solutions won in October last year an order from CNOOC to provide the subsea production system and umbilicals for the Lingshui 17-2 gas field. The delivery for the system and umbilicals will take place between the second half of this year and the end of next year.

Source: Oilprice.com “CNOOC To Begin Deepwater Gas Production In South China Sea In 2021”

Note: This is CGTN’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.

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India Not Interested in Joining US quad to Challenge China


SCMP carries Abhijit Singh’s article “India’s South China Sea policy has not changed. Now, as before, there’s no appetite to challenge China” that stresses that India does not want to challenge China.

The US wants India to join its quad to support its the Indo-Pacific strategy to contain China especially in Southeast Asia and lots of media have tried to make readers believe that India would join the US in challeging China. However, the article says that there are three reasons India will not abandon its policy of non-intervention in security affairs of Southeast Asia.

First, India is not party to the maritime territorial disputes in the region as it has no interests or rights there.

Second, India knows China’s position of strength there.

Third, India is keen to preserve its “Wuhan consensus” that Beijing will respect India’s sphere of influence in the Indian Ocean in the same way that Delhi will respect Beijing’s in Southeast Asia.

Moreover, according to the article media reports on India’s energy stakes in the South China Sea is misleading as India’s stake in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zones are not significant.

However, the source of water for India’s major river the Ganges is the Yarlung Zangbo in China’s Tibet. China is able to divert water from the river to its desert in Xinjiang and greatly reduce the water in the Ganges.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3026729/indias-south-china-sea-policy-has-not-changed-now-theres-no.


Xi Rejects Duterts’s Arbitration Claim but Willing to Maintain Amity with Him


ABS-CBN News says in its report “Xi rejects Philippines’ arbitral win in South China Sea” yesterday”, “Chinese President Xi Jinping rejected the Philippines’ legal victory against China on the South China Sea after President Rodrigo Duterte raised the arbitral ruling during their bilateral meeting in Beijing Thursday.”

However, the report quotes Philippine Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo as saying in a statement “Both President Duterte and President Xi agreed that while their variant positions will have to remain, their differences however need not derail nor diminish the amity between the two countries.” Moreover, it is still possible for the two countries to jointly explore and exploit the energy resources in the disputed waters according to the statement.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on ABS-CBN News’ report, full text of which can be viewed at https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/08/30/19/xi-rejects-philippines-arbitral-win-in-south-china-sea.


Chinese ship inches closer to Vietnam coastline amid South China Sea tensions


Khanh Vu August 24, 2019 / 1:42 PM / Updated 3 hours ago

HANOI (Reuters) – A Chinese survey vessel on Saturday extended its activities to an area closer to Vietnam’s coastline, ship tracking data showed, after the United States and Australia expressed concern about China’s actions in the disputed waterways.

The Haiyang Dizhi 8 vessel first entered Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) early last month where it began a weeks-long seismic survey, triggering a tense standoff between military and coastguard vessels from Vietnam and China.

The Chinese vessel continued to survey Vietnam’s EEZ on Saturday under escort from at least four ships and was around 102 kilometers (63 miles) southeast of Vietnam’s Phu Quy island and 185 kilometers (115 miles) from the beaches of the southern city of Phan Thiet, according to data from Marine Traffic, a website that tracks vessel movements.

The Chinese vessel group was followed by at least two Vietnamese naval vessels, according to the data.

Vietnam’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters for comment.

A country’s EEZ typically extends up to 200 nautical miles (370 kilometers or 230 miles) from its coastline, according to an international UN treaty. That country has sovereign rights to exploit any natural resources within that area, according to the agreement.

Vietnam and China have for years been embroiled in a dispute over the potentially energy-rich stretch of waters and a busy shipping lane in the South China Sea.

China’s unilaterally declared “nine-dash line” marks a vast, U-shaped, expanse of the South China Sea that it claims, including large swathes of Vietnam’s continental shelf where it has awarded oil concessions.

On Friday, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Australian counterpart expressed their concern about China’s activities in the South China Sea, known in Vietnam as the East Sea.

Earlier in the week, the United States said it was deeply concerned about China’s interference in oil and gas activities in waters claimed by Vietnam, and that the deployment of the vessels was “an escalation by Beijing in its efforts to intimidate other claimants out of developing resources in the South China Sea”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, in response to the U.S. statement, said Washington was “sowing division and had ulterior motives”.

The aim is to bring chaos to the situation in the South China Sea and damage regional peace and stability. China is resolutely opposed to this,” Geng told a daily news briefing on Friday.

Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by James Pearson; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

Source: Reuters “Chinese ship inches closer to Vietnam coastline amid South China Sea tensions”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


Failure of Pompeo’s Intervention with South China Sea Disputes


China’s survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 conducted geological survey in July in the disputed waters in the South China Sea that claimed by both China and Vietnam. Vietnam protested but China simply ignored that. I described it in my post “ Vietnam Merely Watched China’s Survey in Disputed Waters” on July 15.

On August 1, Reuters says in its report “Pompeo blasts Chinese ‘coercion’ in South China Sea”, “U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday criticized Chinese ‘coercion’ in the disputed South China Sea, highlighting a divide with Beijing at a meeting of Southeast Asian nations with world powers. “

China’s survey ship left the disputed area on August 7 and gave the impresion that Pompeo’s intervention worked.

However, Reuters says in its report “Vietnam demands Chinese ship leaves its exclusive economic zone” on August 16 that the survey ship has returned to the disputed area.

Pompeo’s intervention has simply been ignored.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters reports full text of which can be viewed at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-asean-thailand-pompeo/pompeo-blasts-chinese-coercion-in-south-china-sea-idUSKCN1UR4D2 and https://www.reuters.com/article/us-vietnam-china-southchinasea/vietnam-demands-chinese-ship-leaves-its-exclusive-economic-zone-idUSKCN1V61CO


US set to push security strategy as Chinese maneuvers rattle region


Martin Petty

July 31, 2019 / 4:11 PM / Updated 18 minutes ago

MANILA (Reuters) – Recent incidents involving Chinese ships in Southeast Asian waters are testing regional faith in Beijing’s sincerity about maritime peace, and aiding a renewed U.S. push to build alliances with countries unnerved by China’s assertiveness.

Chinese maneuvering in energy-rich stretches of the South China Sea, including a standoff in Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone, will figure on Friday when top diplomats of Southeast Asian bloc ASEAN attend a security gathering with world powers.

Among those is a United States that has laid out an “Indo-Pacific Strategy” challenging Chinese maritime hegemony and seeking stronger ties with nations pushing back against Beijing.

Vietnam has done just that, demanding earlier this month that China remove a survey ship and escorts from its waters near an offshore oil block.

Within hours, the U.S. State Department rebuked China for “bullying behavior” and “provocative and destabilizing activity”.

The U.S. role is undeniable and very important and they need to put more pressure on China,” said academic Hai Hong Nguyen, a Vietnam expert.

The international community needs to do that too. All the claimants need to internationalize it.”

Vietnam’s call to rally the international community was a departure from its usual cautious responses to China, which seeks to settle rows bilaterally.

Vietnam also appears to have tacit support from Russia, whose state oil firm Rosneft, is operating an oil block within what China says is its historic jurisdiction.

Two days after a Chinese coastguard ship was tracked near the oil block on July 16, in what U.S. think tank Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) called a “threatening manner”, the Vietnamese arm of Russia’s Sputnik state news agency said President Vladimir Putin sent a personal message of gratitude to Rosneft Vietnam for developing the block.

Russia will be among the 27 countries at Friday’s ASEAN Regional Forum meeting in Bangkok.

Also present will be foreign ministers of Japan, the United States, China and Australia, plus those of the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam, which have recently been impacted by Chinese vessels, including the coastguard and a fishing militia.

The Philippine foreign minister on Wednesday confirmed a diplomatic protest to China over Chinese vessels surrounding the tiny Philippine-held Thitu island.

GREY ZONE TACTICS’

The same Chinese Haijing 35111 coast guard ship that showed up near Rosneft’s operation off Vietnam was also tracked near an oil rig on Malaysia’s continental shelf during May, according to the AMTI thinktank.

Meanwhile in June, a Chinese fishing boat sank a Filipino vessel, leaving 22 crew stranded near the Reed Bank, the site of gas deposits inside the Philippine EEZ. China said it was an accident.

On Monday, Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed that five Chinese warships passed through Manila’s 12-mile territorial sea this month without notifying the government, calling that “a failure to observe protocol or common courtesy”.

According to South China Sea expert Carl Thayer, the recent increase in Chinese assertiveness is no coincidence, but a response to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy, and an increase in flyovers by U.S. bombers and U.S. navy patrols in the South China Sea, through which $3.4 trillion of goods pass annually.

Thayer suggested China was actively preventing Southeast Asian neighbors from developing offshore energy reserves without its participation, and discouraging foreign partnerships.

China’s use of grey zone tactics will inevitably cause regional states to take countermeasures and push back,” he wrote. “This carries the risk that confrontations at sea will escalate.”

Defending Beijing’s position, China’s ambassador to the Philippines, Zhao Jianhua, said on Tuesday that China was committed to international law and “working very hard” with ASEAN to create a maritime code of conduct within three years.

No matter how strong China may become, China will never seek hegemony or never establish spheres of influence,” he said.

China’s one key ally is Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who despises the United States, and whose foreign policy was praised by China’s Global Times newspaper last week as “peaceful, cooperative and restrained”.

But Duterte’s U.S.-allied defense top brass appear uncomfortable with the position and surveys show Filipinos vastly favor the United States over China.

According to Manila-based author and analyst Richard Heydarian, Duterte is increasingly isolated in defending China.

From the very front lines, Hong Kong and Taiwan all the way to the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and definitely Vietnam – you’re seeing a robust pushback by a lot of smaller countries,” he said.

Definitely, Washington has that strategic room for maneuver,” he said.

Additional reporting by Khanh Vu in HANOI and Matthew Tostevin in BANGKOK; Editing by Michael Perry

Source: Reuters “US set to push security strategy as Chinese maneuvers rattle region”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


China Keeps on Survey in South China Sea Despite Vietnam, US Protests


SCMP says in its report “Vietnam renews demand for ‘immediate withdrawal’ of Chinese ship in disputed South China Sea” on July 25, 2019 that Vietnam demanded again immediate withdrawal of Chinese survey ship in disputed area in the South China Sea.

Marine Geology 8 SCMP photo.

I said in my post “Vietnam Merely Watched China’s Survey in Disputed Waters” on July 13 that Vietnam merely protested without taking any action to drive away Chinese geological survey ship Marine Geology 8. Chinese ship simply remains there and ignores Vietnamese protest.

Why has Vietnam not driven away or even rounded up Chinese ship and boats like what the Philippines did in Scarborough Standoff. It knows that it may suffer like the Philippines in being banned of fishing in the disputed area.

For Vietnam, it may suffer much greater losses as it has been exploiting oil in disputed areas but China has not driven it away. If it takes any action similar to the Philippines’, China may dispel all the oil rigs there.

The US protested and accused China of bully but dare not take any action. Anyway, Vietnam may be happy for the oral suppor since the US is not Vietnam’s ally. However, Vietnam knows very clear that the US will not help it in a military conflict between it and China.

Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/3020124/vietnam-renews-demand-immediate-withdrawal-chinese-ship