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.