Skip to main content

China finds signs of oil near disputed Paracel Islands

By Zoe Li, CNN
updated 3:55 AM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
China's oil drilling rig in disputed waters in the South China Sea.
China's oil drilling rig in disputed waters in the South China Sea.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • China completed a drilling operation near the Paracel Islands between May 2 and July 15
  • The area has potential for oil exploration and is contested by China and Vietnam
  • China recently deported 13 Vietnamese who were arrested for fishing in Chinese waters

Hong Kong (CNN) -- Signs of oil and gas have been found by a Chinese rig that was drilling off a disputed island chain in the South China Seas, according to Chinese state media.

The drilling area does have the basic conditions and potential for oil exploration, Wang Zhen, deputy director of CNPC Policy Research Office, told Xinhua.

The drilling operation, known as the Zhongjiannan Project, was completed on July 15, according to the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). The state-owned energy company will further analyze the collected geological data before announcing their next steps.

When China dispatched the oil rig on May 2 to begin drilling near the Paracel Islands in the South China Seas, the move kicked off a series of confrontations between Chinese and Vietnamese vessels in the area. Both nations claim ownership over the chain China refers to as the Xisha islands.

Rioting

Vietnam objects to China's oil drilling
Fishing boat sinks near disputed islands

Clashes at sea sparked violent anti-Chinese riots on land. Thousands of Chinese nationals had to be evacuated from Vietnam in mid-May as the demonstrations turned deadly.

READ: How an oil rig sparked anti-China riots in Vietnam

In the face of Vietnam's ferocious protests, Beijing has stood its ground on its claim over the Paracels.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Hong Lei emphasized this on Wednesday.

"The Xisha Islands are integral parts of China. The operation by the Chinese company is located in indisputable coastal waters of the Xisha (Paracel) Islands, which falls well within China's sovereignty," said Hong.

Xinhua also reported that 13 Vietnamese fishermen previously arrested by the Chinese coastguard were deported on Tuesday. The fishermen were accused of operating illegally in Chinese waters off the coast of Hainan Province.

Vietnam continues to reject China's claims to the Paracels, calling recent drilling activities "illegal" and in violation of international law.

According to CNOOC, a third of China's oil and gas resources are under the South China Sea, most of which it claims as its own, refuting rival claims from Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Brunei.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 5:29 AM EDT, Tue September 16, 2014
Christians in eastern China keep watch in Wenzhou, where authorities have demolished churches and removed crosses.
updated 1:38 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
Home-grown hip-hop appeals to a younger generation but its popularity has not translated into record deals and profits for budding rap artists.
updated 1:45 AM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
Reforms to the grueling gaokao - the competitive college entrance examination - don't make the grade, says educator Jiang Xueqin.
updated 8:18 AM EDT, Fri September 5, 2014
Beijing grapples with reports from Iraq that a Chinese national fighting for ISIS has been captured.
updated 10:00 PM EDT, Sun August 31, 2014
CNN's David McKenzie has tasted everything from worms to grasshoppers while on the road; China's cockroaches are his latest culinary adventure.
updated 8:57 PM EDT, Thu September 4, 2014
Beijing rules only candidates approved by a nominating committee can run for Hong Kong's chief executive.
updated 3:14 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
China warns the United States to end its military surveillance flights near Chinese territory.
updated 11:12 PM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
China has produced elite national athletes but some argue the emphasis on winning discourages children. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout reports
updated 1:13 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Chinese are turning to overseas personal shoppers to get their hands on luxury goods at lower prices.
updated 5:08 AM EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
Experts say rapidly rising numbers of Christians are making it harder for authorities to control the religion's spread.
updated 12:52 AM EDT, Mon August 11, 2014
"I'm proud of their moral standing," says Harvey Humphrey. His parents are accused of corporate crimes in China.
updated 3:42 PM EDT, Wed August 6, 2014
A TV confession detailing a life of illegal gambling and paid-for sex has capped the dramatic fall of one of China's most high-profile social media celebrities.
updated 12:10 AM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
President Xi Jinping's campaign to punish corrupt Chinese officials has snared its biggest target -- where can the campaign go from here?
updated 3:12 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
All you need to know about the tainted meat produce that affects fast food restaurants across China, Hong Kong, and Japan.
updated 10:30 PM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
Some savvy individuals in China are claiming naming rights to valuable foreign brands. Here's how companies can combat them.
updated 5:11 AM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Is the Chinese president a true reformist or merely a "dictator" in disguise? CNN's Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz dissects the leader's policies
updated 11:44 PM EDT, Mon July 7, 2014
With a population of 1.3 billion, you'd think that there would be 11 people in China who are good enough to put up a fight on the football pitch.
ADVERTISEMENT