China issues fresh warning regarding exploration in South China Sea

Singapore (Platts). Nov 1, 2011. China has issued yet another warning to another oil company regarding oil and gas exploration activities in the disputed South China Sea—this time directed at US oil major ExxonMobil.

“Any foreign company shall not engage in oil and gas activities in waters under Chinese jurisdiction. This position is clear and consistent,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular briefing on Monday.

Late last week, ExxonMobil announced that it had discovered hydrocarbons in August in a well drilled off the coast of central Vietnam.

“We can confirm ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Vietnam Limited drilled its second exploration well offshore Da Nang in August 2011 and encountered hydrocarbons,” company spokesman Patrick McGinn said in an email response to questions on the drilling.

Vietnam and China signed a six-point agreement on basic principles to settle maritime issues earlier this month after talks in Beijing by leaders from both countries. In September, Beijing issued a similar warning regarding plans by India’s ONGC to explore in two Vietnam-licensed offshore oil blocks in the South China Sea.

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