Spratly survey to lead Vietnamese deepwater exploration

Deepwater exploration offshore Vietnam is expected to progress gradually. A step toward deepwater exploration is a 2D seismic survey now under way around the once disputed Spratly Islands under a tripartite agreement with the Philippines and China.

Offshore staff

SINGAPORE -- Deepwater exploration offshore Vietnam is expected to progress gradually. A step toward deepwater exploration is a 2D seismic survey now under way around the once disputed Spratly Islands under a tripartite agreement with the Philippines and China.

The ongoing survey being conducted by PetroVietnam, Philippine National Oil Co., and China National Offshore Oil Corp. will help identify the deepwater potential, Tran Ngoc Canh, PetroVietnam president and CEO, said at a press conference in Singapore March 8.

The survey, which began last year, covers a large area off the Spratly Islands. The survey area will be divided into blocks if there are sufficient leads.

The deepwater play likely will be dominated by CNOOC, given the company's lead in undertaking the survey, which was initiated by Beijing to resolve the differences among the claimants to the Spratly acreage.

According to Tran, PetroVietnam and the Vietnamese government also are preparing to call tender for a number of offshore blocks, but details are not yet available.

3/8/2007

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