Vietnam, China, Philippines Firms to Probe South China Sea for Oil

3:26:33 PM | 7/8/2005

Vietnam, China, Philippines Firms to Probe South China Sea for Oil


The national oil companies of Vietnam, China and the Philippines on Monday [March 14] signed an accord to conduct a three-year joint seismic survey for the potential oil and gas reserves of the South China Sea, according to a close source from the Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


The signing ceremony of the "Tripartite Agreement for Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking in the Agreement Area in the South China Sea" by the Vietnam Oil and Gas Corporation (PetroVietnam), Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) was held in Manila, the Philippines on March 14, 2005.


According to the agreement, the three oil companies of Vietnam, the Philippines and China will undertake a 3-year joint research project into petroleum resource potential in an area of the South China Sea, which is defined by specific geographic coordinates.


The agreement highlights the principles of equality and consensus among relevant parties during the joint research process, said Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Le Dzung.


According to the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, under the agreement, the firms are committed to strictly adhering to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.


The parties also expressed their resolve to transform the South China Sea into an area of peace, stability, cooperation and development, stating that the signing of the agreement would not undermine the basic position held by each government, said Mr. Dzung.


Speaker of the House of Representative of the Philippines Jose de Venecia, Philippines Minister of Energy Vincente Perez and Vietnam's and China's Ambassadors to the Philippines attended the signing ceremony.


Philippines President Gloria Macapagan Arroyo received representatives of the three national oil companies on the same day. Vietnam's Ambassador to the Philippines Dinh Tich was also present at the reception.


A spokesman for President Arroyo hailed the deal as "a model-setting approach… on forging partnerships on energy security."

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