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The first oil drilling rig built and built independently by China in the South China Sea is Ocean Oil 981(油981). The largest shareholders are J.P. Morgan Chase – Co. (19%), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (14%), T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. and subsidiaries (6%) and BlackRock, Inc. (5%). [67] It began operating on 9 May 2012 in the South China Sea, 320 kilometres southeast of Hong Kong, at a depth of 1500 m and 160 employees. [68] On 2 May 2014, the platform was moved near the Paracel Islands,[69] a measure that Vietnam described as a violation of its territorial rights.

[70] The Chinese authorities declared it legal and declared that the area was located in the waters around the Paracel Islands, which China occupies and controls militarily. [71] The 1954 Geneva Conventions,[25] which ended the First Indochina War, gave control of southern Vietnam south of the 17th parallel that covered the paracels and Spratlys islands. [26] Two years later, the North Vietnamese government claimed that the People`s Republic of China was the legitimate applicant for the islands, while southern Vietnam took control of the Paracel Islands. [26] Chinese officials did not immediately comment on the statement. Three diplomats from Southeast Asia told the AP news agency that it was a significant step up to the implementation of the rule of law in a controversial region that has long been considered an Asian hotbed. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not have the authority to speak publicly. Competing claims in the oil- and gas-rich South China Sea have stifled the development and exploitation of these resources. In November 2018, the Philippines and China agreed on a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Oil and Gas Development, which underpins the asset-sharing agreement, not asset ownership. In the past, aggressive Chinese naval patrols have deterred Manila from investigating gas deposits in controversial waters such as Reed Bank, which could allow complaining states to jointly develop natural gas in offshore territory.

The mechanism of the joint agreements is not new, as Malaysia and Vietnam established a similar mechanism in 1992, while Malaysia and Thailand reached agreements in 1979 and 1990 on the development of controversial gas-rich waters. [72] Sa-Hunh culture has flourished in the South China Sea, particularly in the south in central Vietnam, from the Mekong Delta to Quéng Benh province.