BBC News and several news agencies including Reuters reported that Vietnam is carrying out drilling operations in the Block 136-03 of the South China Sea. Part of that block lays in the U-shaped ‘nine-dash line’ which marks the vast area that China claims in the sea. The block is jointly owned by PetroVietnam, Spanish Repsol and Mubadala of the UAE. According to BBC and Reuters Odfjell drilling ultra-deepwater drillship Deepsea Metro I began operations at about 400km (250 miles) off the Vietnamese coast on 21 June and is believed to drill in block 136/3, which overlaps China’s claims. Vietnam state oil company and Odfjell drilling declined to comment. Deepsea Metro 1 was released the 2nd of May by Nido Petroleum after drilling a well in Galoc area in the Philippines waters offshore Palawan. The drillship was then reported as ready stacked in Malaysia.
The South China Sea is part of the Pacific Ocean. It is surrounded by the Philippine to the East, Vietnam to the West, China and Taiwan to the North. Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei lie to the South of the disputed sea. The area’s importance because one-third of the world’s shipping sailing through its waters and that it is believed to hold huge oil and gas deposit. There are hundreds of islands in the middle of the sea that are claimed by multiple countries such as China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam. (Source BBC News – Image: CIA)