Vietnam has reportedly started an offshore drilling operation in the contested waters of the South China Sea.
According to BBC, Talisman Vietnam, a subsidiary of the Spanish oil company Repsol has begun exploratory works in a block also claimed by China.
The company is reportedly using Odfjel Drilling’s Deep Sea Metro I drillship for the job.
The British news agency has cited Ian Cross, of Moyes & Co, who said that the drilling started on June 21.
To remind, Offshore Energy Today has previously reported on Odfjell Drilling securing a two-well contract for the drillship in the South East Asia region.
The company on May 30 said the deal with an undisclosed party might be extended for one further well and three sidetracks.
“The firm contract period will be approximately 150 days with expected start during June 2017,” Odfjell said in May.
BBC has alleged that the operation has been kept secret due to its “extreme sensitivity.”
China claims almost the entire South China Sea to be within its territory, with its claims there overlapping with those of The Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and Brunei.
When asked whether China was worried about the ongoing exploration and drilling work by a ship within Vietnam’s southern oil and gas block, the China foreign ministry spokesperson said:
“…China resolutely upholds its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, firmly opposes unilateral and illegal oil and gas activities by any country, enterprise or institution in the waters under China’s jurisdiction. We hope relevant country can bear the larger picture of regional peace and stability in mind and refrain from actions that will complex the situation.”
Offshore Energy Today has reached out to Repsol and Odfjell Drilling, seeking more info on the matter. A Repsol spokesperson declined to comment. We will update the article if we get a response from Odfjell Drilling.
Offshore Energy Today Staff