Viet Nam’s oil exploration activity in the East Sea (presented by Mr. Nguyen Quoc Thap, Deputy Director General of Petro Viet Nam)
17/06/2014 12:35 (GMT+7)

1. Viet Nam’s oil and gas exploration and production in the East Sea

During the past 40 years, PVN has carried out its normal oil and gas exploration and production in the continental shelf and EEZ of Viet Nam including Paracel Islands and its surrounding areas.

PVN has doned and will continue to carry out its cooperation activities with foreign companies for oil and gas exploration and production in the continental shelf and EEZ of Viet Nam.

Until now, PVN has signed 100 contracts on oil and gas exploration and production, in which 61 contracts are being implemented. The total activity in Viet Nam’s continental shelf and EEZ covers 500,000km of seismic survey 2D, over 50,000 square km 3D and about 900 drilling wells.

All of these activities are carried out within the continental shelf and EEZ (200 nautical miles) of Viet Nam.

Prior to 1975

From 1969-1970, Viet Nam conducted survey over 12,000 km 2D together with magnetic and airborne gravity surveys in the continental shelf of South Viet Nam (done by Ray Geophysical Mandrel)

During 1973-1974, Viet Nam cooperated with Western Geophysical and Geophysical Services Inc. (US) to conduct seismic survey 2D: Project WA74-HS (3,373km) in the offshore area of the Central of Viet Nam that covered Paracel Islands of Viet Nam; Project WA74-PKB (5,328km) in Phu Khanh offshore area.

During 1975-1996 (Viet Nam was a party to the UNCLOS 1982)

During 1985-1983, PetroVietnam conducted seismic survey in the Central offshore area using ship Malugin (USSR), cooperated with NOPEC (Norway) to conduct seismic, magnetic and gravity survey in the area of 10º-15º latitude including Paracel Islands  and its surrounding areas. In 1993, Hanoi University cooperated with Paris University VI (France) to use ship Atalant to conduct survey “Ponaga” to measure gravity, magnetic and seismic data and the layer samples in Paracel Islands , the Central and Southeast of Viet Nam.

From 1996 until now, PVN cooperated with foreign companies to carry out activities within the continental shelf and EEZ of Viet Nam (200 nautical miles) in conformity with the UNCLOS 1982.

Since 2007, PVN has carried out many projects on seismic 2D: Survey on Viet Nam’s continental shelf (done by TGS NOPEC of Norway); East Phu Khanh (PGS Singapore); surveys CSL-07, PV-08, TK-10, PVN12 in Paracel Islands  and its surrounding areas. Most recently in April 2014, PVN Group in cooperation with Murphy Oil (US) has completed survey 2D for 5000 km in South Paracel Islands .

Besides, the oil exploitation and exploration, PVN conducted many researches and assessments on oil and gas potentials in Viet Nam’s EEZ including Paracel and Spratly islands, as well as Tu Chinh and Vung May. There has been various researches and reports done by local and international authors on the assessment of the seismic structure and oil potential in Paracel Islands and the surrounding areas. The researches in the area has been presented by Vietnamese and foreign author at international seminars and conferences, which were highly recognized and appreciated.

As such PVN has been carrying out its normal oil and gas exploration and production activities in Viet Nam Continental Shelf and EEZ including Paracel Islands and its surrounding areas. In the future, PVN will continue its cooperation with foreign companies to carry out activities in Viet Nam’s continental shelf and EEZ (200 nautical miles) as it has done during the past 40 years.

2. PVN’s opposition to China’s illegal oil and gas activities

PVN at the recent press conferences strongly protested China’s illegal deployment of HaiYan Shiyou oil rig 981 on May, 2nd 2014 and China’s statement at May 16th , 2014 press conference in Beijing that “57 oil blocs are located in disputed waters”. PVN reaffirms that China’s nine-dotted line claim is groundless, which is not recognized by the international community and its statement concerning Viet Nam’s 57 oil blocs in the disputed sea is ill-founded and invalid. China has intentionally attempted to turn undisputed waters into disputed areas with its irrational claims. In reality, this area is located fully within Viet Nam’s continental shelf and EEZ.

This is not the first time China carried out illegal activities violating Viet Nam’s waters. Given, China’s previous violations, Viet Nam has voiced its protest through diplomatic channels and struggles together with other on-site communication measure to prevent China from violating Viet Nam’s seas. Following are a number of violation activities against Viet Nam’s continental shelf and EEZ caused by China that were protested by Viet Nam.

1) In 2003 oil rig Katan III attempted to drill in the east of bloc 113

2) In 2006, China conducted seismic survey 2D near Tri Ton island of Viet Nam using vessel Fen Dou 4. Viet Nam’s law enforcement took preventive measures.

3) In 2007, China conducted seismic survey 3D with the cooperation of Western Geco. PVN summoned Western Geco to demand an end of this activity and warned the survey vessels that it would not be allowed to participate in Viet Nam’s projects.

4) During 2007-2008, China leased TransOcean to carryout drilling activities in Paracel areas. As a result of PVN’s opposition TransOcean refused to cooperate with China.

5) June-August 2010, China signed contract with Western Spirit to conduct seismic survey 3D in blocs 141-143 near Tri Ton island despite of Viet Nam’s protest. China’s vessels threatened Viet Nam’s vessels using water cannons, sirens and turned the artillery gun towards Viet Nam’s vessels.

6) In September 2010, Chinese ship, Fen Dou 4, carried out activities about 80 - 90 nautical miles away from the East of Ly Son islands. This led to an attempt by the Vietnam’s law enforcement vessels to prevent, call upon and drive away Chinese vessels to withdraw from this area.

­­7) From June to July 2011, Chinese research vessel, the Tanbaohao, conducted survey activities 28 nautical miles away from the West of Tri Ton island (bloc 141 – 143). This led to an effort by the Vietnamese law enforcement vessels to drive this Chinese vessel.

8) In 2012, the CNOOC released an invitation of international bids for the 9 blocs in Central of Viet Nam which was rejected by international oil and gas companies.

9) In Wan Bei, China illegally signed a petroleum contracts for the WAB-21 area with Crestone Energy, which later transferred to Harvest. Until now, there are no activities undertaken by these companies.

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