Struggle over oil in the South China Sea

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Between China and the U.S. developed a new area of ​​potential confrontation. According to reports, the American oil company Exxon Mobil, which had acquired from Vietnam, the indexing and mining rights, substantial natural gas reserves off the Vietnamese coast in the South China Sea has discovered.

The American oil company Exxon Mobil announced in a press release that they had discovered potentially significant natural gas reserves off the Vietnamese coast. The second test well in front of Da Nang City has encountered hydrocarbons in August 2011.
In this context it is of great importance that these offshore natural gas reserves between the North Vietnamese coast and the Chinese island of Hainan in a marine region, which is disputed between Vietnam and China (see map below). The disputed territory consists of sections 117, 118 and 119, which is claimed, according to Hanoi in Vietnam to international maritime law of 370 kilometers (or 200 nautical miles) wide exclusive economic zone.

oil energy,southchina sea mapShortly after the Exxon-Mobil's report on the discovery, China responded on 31 October with the warning addressed to foreign companies, not in regions to act, which are also claimed it. "We hope that no foreign companies involved in the disputed waters in the development and production of oil and gas reserves, said spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Hong Lei, on the question of whether China Exxon he would ask his oil terminate and natural gas contracts with Vietnam. The Exxon Mobile did not mention by name specifically.

  Exxon Mobile was acquired by the Vietnamese government licenses for the exploration and exploitation of Sections 117, 118 and 119 which are located off the coast of Da Nang. These sections are located, according to Vietnam in the international law of the sea claimed by Vietnam to 370 kilometers (or 200 nautical miles) wide exclusive economic zone (EEZ), as the Financial Times reported this past week.

    But these sections are also among the regions of the South China Sea, on the rise especially in China, as well as Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan, reaching claims. In this part of the sea and the Spratly Islands and other atolls will be found extensive petroleum and natural gas reserves, and the region is also still very rich in fish.

    One of the more popular Chinese newspaper, Global Times, warned in the past week, states that participated in the territorial disputes in these waters should be prepare mentally before the thunder of cannon, if they wish to invest further with China . Exxon Mobil was discovered off the coast of Vietnam's extensive natural gas reserves.
But this is not a dispute between Vietnam and China. Vietnam is not an independent actor. Represents the government in Hanoi representative Western oil interests that run counter to Chinese interests in the region. Therefore, we classify this conflict between American and Chinese oil and gas interests in the larger geopolitical context.

It is an emerging clash between Washington and Beijing is closely related to the overall dispute over oil resources in the Middle East and Central Asia, where China has built up significant interests in oil and gas reserves, but also pipeline routes.

The South China Sea region is a potential military confrontation. It belongs to the deployment and operation area of ​​the Seventh American fleet, a bitter irony, during the Vietnam War played an important role.

After the Vietnam War, Vietnam became virtually a client state of Western and Japanese business interests.

In July this year, the U.S. Navy held together with Japan and Australia, extensive maneuvers in the South China Sea and moved here in ocean regions bordering on the controversial sections, which were now for the indexing and production concessions granted. In this maneuver was followed in August of joint US-Vietnamese naval exercises, which were interpreted in Beijing as more or less undisguised threats against China.

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