Repsol forced to halt work offshore Vietnam under pressure from China

Repsol forced to halt work offshore Vietnam under pressure from China

Vietnam has ordered Spanish energy company Repsol to stop work at a contentious site in the South China Sea, following threats from neighbour China. Repsol had been carrying out E&P activity at Block 136-03 off the Vanguard Bank, some 200 nautical miles southeast of Vung Tao. It is believed that it had just found a major gas reserve at the site.

China had warned it might attack Vietnamese installations in the Spratlys if the Spanish energy company did not stop work.

The area has seen a long simmering dispute between China and many of its Southeast Asian neighbours for the past 30 years.

Repsol had the exploration lease in a joint venture contract with state-owned PetroVietnam and the UAE’s Mubadala Development. Odfjell had been acting as Repsol’s drilling contractor at the site, deploying the Deepsea Metro I, a sixth-generation ultra deepwater drillship.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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