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Mining & Energy

China leads mission to explore South China Sea for oil – 1800 kms from China

The US scientific drill ship Joides Resolution docks in the city yesterday ahead of its expedition to the South China Sea

The US scientific drill ship Joides Resolution docks in the city yesterday ahead of its expedition to the South China Sea

China will lead an expedition into the South China Sea, 80 kilometres off the coast of Malaysia and 1,800 kilometres from the Chinese mainland – territory China claims as it’s own.

The first scientific ocean drilling expedition led and sponsored by China sails from Hong Kong tomorrow into the South China Sea – the subject of territorial disputes between Beijing and neighbouring countries.

Thirty-one geologists will drill at three sites for sediment and rock cores during the 62-day international expedition aboard the American scientific drill ship Joides Resolution.

Scientists said the samples would reveal the tectonic evolution of the South China Sea, and pave the way to map oil and natural gas fields.

“Oil and gas fields lie close to the coast, but the key is to open the treasure box buried beneath the basin,” said Wang Pinxian, a marine geologist and member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

And Lin Jian, one of the chief scientists involved, said: “The basalt retrieved from the basin is like a book that records the formation of the South China Sea.”

Proposed by Chinese scientists in 2008, the trip marks the first sailing of the 2013-2023 International Ocean Discovery Programme (IODP), an international scientific research effort established by the United States in the 1960s.

Dozens of proposals for the programme were submitted by the 26 IODP member countries. The proposal to drill in the South China Sea did not win the most votes, but the generosity of the Chinese government – which is paying US$6 million, or 70 per cent, of the expedition’s cost – was a deciding factor.

China also submitted a proposal last year to examine the northern reaches of the South China Sea, the area so far identified with the richest oil and gas resources, said Li Chunfeng, another scientist on the expedition.

The 31 scientists on the ship come from 10 countries and regions: 13 are from mainland China, nine from the US and one from Taiwan.

The US National Science Foundation, which once contributed 70 per cent of the Joides Resolution’s expenses, cut its annual ocean drilling budget to US$50 million last year, said Dr David Divins, director of the ocean drilling programme of the IODP.

A year after joining the IODP in 1998, China took part in an expedition to the South China Sea, which charted climatic and environmental changes and played a part in locating oilfields in its northern part. The new expedition will drill as deep as 1,930 metres into the seabed, the fifth deepest such exploration in history. In 1999, drills went only several hundred metres deep.

Learning the movements of the tectonic plates was the first step to locating oil deposits, Wang said.

The ship will pass through and drill in regions claimed variously by China, the Philippines and Vietnam. Operated by the National Science Foundation, the ship has received permission from Manila and Beijing but is awaiting a response from Hanoi to drill at a site in the southwest of the South China Sea. The expedition may have to opt for an alternative site, said Divins.

The Philippines has sent an observer scientist to the expedition, whose findings and database will be shared worldwide, including with scientists from non-IODP member countries.

The Philippines is one of several countries that claim parts of the South China Sea.

Xinhua yesterday reported that three People’s Liberation Army naval vessels patrolled the James Shoal, 80 kilometres off the coast of Malaysia’s Sarawak state and 1,800 kilometres from the Chinese mainland. The shoal is also claimed by Malaysia and Taiwan. Troops aboard the ships – an amphibious landing craft and two destroyers – held “an oath-taking ceremony to safeguard the area’s sovereignty”.

Source: SCMP “Chinese-led international mission to explore South China Sea for oil”


About chankaiyee2

Author of the book "Tiananmen's Tremendous Achievements" about how with the help of Tiananmen Protests, talented scholars with moral integrity seized power in the Party and state and brought prosperity to China. The second edition of the book will be published within a few days to mark the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Protests All the parts in the first edition remain in the second edition with a few changes due to information available later and better understanding. There are also some changes for improvements of style. The new parts are Chapters 12-19 on events in China after the first edition was published: The fierce power struggle for succession between reformists and conservatives; Xi Jinping winning all elders’ support during his mysterious disappearance for 2 weeks in early September, 2012; and Xi Jinping Cyclone. Chan Kai Yee's new book: SPACE ERA STRATEGY: The Way China Beats The US An eye-opening book that tells the truth how the US is losing to China. The US is losing as it adopts the outdated strategy of Air-Sea Battle while China adopts the space era strategy to pursue integrated space and air capabilities: It is losing due to its diplomacy that has given rise to Russian-Chinese alliance. US outdated strategy has enabled China to catch up and surpass the US in key weapons: Hypersonic weapons (HGV) that Pentagon regards as the weapon that will dominate the world in the future. Aerospaceplane in China’s development of space-air bomber that can engage enemy anywhere in the world within an hour and destroy an entire aircraft carrier battle group within minutes. Anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, anti-ASAT weapons, stealth aircrafts, drones, AEW&C, etc. The book gives detailed descriptions of China’s weapon development based on information mainly from Chinese sources that the author monitors closely. U.S. Must Not Be Beaten by China! China is not a democracy. Its political system cannot prevent the emergence of a despotic leader or stop such a leader when he begins to bring disasters to people. A few decades ago, Mao Zedong, the worst tyrant in world history did emerge and bring disasters to Chinese people. He wanted to fight a nuclear war to replace capitalism with communism but could not bring nuclear holocaust to world people as China was too weak and poor at that time. If a despot like Mao Zedong emerges when China has surpassed the US in military strength, world people will suffer the misery experienced by Chinese people in Mao era. China surpassing the US in GDP is not something to worry about as China has the heavy burden to satisfy its huge population, but China surpassing the US in military strength will be world people’s greatest concern if China remains an autocracy. US people are of much better quality than Chinese people. What they lack is a wise leader to adopt the correct strategy and diplomacy and the creative ways to use its resources in developing its military capabilities. I hope that with the emergence of a great leader, the US can put an end to its decline and remain number one in the world. China, US, space era strategy, air-sea battle, space-air bomber, arms race, weapon development, chan kai yee

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