Despite territorial disputes with China over sovereignty in the South China Sea, Vietnam is pressing forward to develop offshore areas it claims lie completely within is 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone waters.
PetroVietnam General Director Thuc told reporters that PetroVietnam’s exploration for oil and natural gas in Hanoi terms “the East Sea” is totally within the area of Vietnam’s sovereignty and jurisdiction rights and within Vietnam’s continental shelf and EEZ under terms of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Vietnam News Agency reported.
Thuc added that for the period January-June of the current year PetroVietnam’s income totaled $16.6 billion, a 45 percent increase from the same period in 2010, adding that PetroVietnam’s strong growth was attributable to higher global oil prices, as oil rose by $34 per barrel from 2010 prices to $115 on the world market. Oil is now Vietnam's second-biggest foreign-currency earner and PetroVietnam has ambitious plans to boost production by about 8 percent to 7.8 million metric tons in the second half of 2011 as it brings five new fields online.
These ambitions will not be viewed kindly in Beijing. PetroVietnam has announced that its survey vessel Binh Minh 02 will continue with the seismic survey it was conducting after it was intercepted on 26 May by Chinese vessels which cut its cables, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga. On 9 June three vessels from China, including one fishing vessel and two maritime security vessels, ran into and disabled the cables of Vietnam’s Viking 2 survey ship, with Hanoi insisting that both incidents occurred within Vietnam's EEZ.
By. Joao Peixe, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com