Vietnam, China renew joint exploration agreement

Thursday, 2013-06-20 11:30:12
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At the signing ceremony
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Nhan Dan – During State President Truong Tan Sang’s ongoing official visit to China, Vietnam’s largest oil producer, Petrovietnam, and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) renewed their agreement on joint exploration for energy reserves in the Tonkin Gulf for the fourth time on June 19 in Beijing.

The agreeement, which was approved by the authorities on both sides, aims to enhance opportunities to discover oil and gas in the designated area and improve bilateral co-operation in this field.

Diagram of the agreed area for joint exploration in the Tonkin Gulf

The mutally agreed renewal until 2016 expands the exploration area from 1,541 km2 to 4,076 km2, divided into two equal areas as shown in the diagram.

The agreement is being implemented by both sides with operational costs divided equally between the two sides. If any commercial oil and gas is discovered in the agreed area, they will work together to determine a common exploitation plan in accordance with international oil and gas regulations and the laws of each country, respecting each side’s sovereignty, rights and interests in the Tonkin Gulf.

Petrovietnam and the CNOOC signed and implemented a framework agreement on oil and gas co-operation in the agreed offshore area of the Tonkin Gulf in 2005. Based on the outcomes of the framework agreement, the two sides then signed the official agreement on November 6, 2006, which was approved by both Governments and has been in effect since January 2, 2007.

For the past six years, both sides have been exploring within the agreed area through drilling exploratory oil and gas wells, conducting 3D seismic surveys and research, interpreting data, and assessing the potential for oil and gas.

The authorities on both sides have agreed to amend the agreement’s validity three times to implement specific tasks. Although no commercially viable oil and gas reserves have been discovered so far, important information has been collected about oil and gas potential in the area, laying the foundation for expanding the agreed upon area and establishing good co-operative links between the two sides.