Taiwan plans to drill for gas and oil in Spratlys next year

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The Kalayaan island in the contested Spratly islands in the West Philippine Sea. AFP/Kayalaan Municipal office

TAIPEI—Taiwan plans to start exploring for oil and gas in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) next year, an official and local media said on Friday, in a development that could increase tensions in the contested waters.

The Bureau of Mines and state-run oil supplier CPC Corp. are expected to kick off exploration in 2013 in the sea around Taiping, the biggest islet in the Spratly archipelago, the United Daily News website and other media reported.

Jerry Ou, head of the Bureau of Energy, announced the plan on Thursday in parliament, the paper said, adding that a budget of Tw$17 million ($585,000) had been set aside for the project.

“At the moment, it’s something that’s being planned by the government, and we haven’t received any details yet,” an official with CPC Corp. told AFP, declining to be named.

The Bureau of Energy declined comment, while the Bureau of Mining was not immediately available for a reaction to the report.

Taiwan, which does not have any oil resources of its own and is dependent on imports mainly from the Middle East and Africa, would seem to have solid economic reasons for looking for new energy reserves.

But carrying out oil and gas exploration in the Spratlys could ratchet up tensions, as the islands are claimed entirely or in part by Taiwan, Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

All claimants except Brunei have troops based on the group of more than 100 islets, reefs and atolls, which are spread across a vast area but have a total land mass of less than 5 square kilometers.

Taiwan maintains a small coastguard garrison on Taiping, 1,400 km from its southern coast, and earlier this year sent new mortar and antiaircraft systems to the islet, angering Vietnam.

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  • truth_will_set_us_free

    AN ANOLOGY IS THE BORDER WAR BETWEEN VIETNAM AND CHINA IN THE LATE 70S. RED CHINA WAS BEATEN BLACK AND BLUE.

  • truth_will_set_us_free

    THE BORDER WAR BETWEEN RED CHINA AND VIETNAM THAT REBUTTED AN ARROGANT AND BULLYING INVADER IN 1978: CHINA. THIS ” TEACH-VIETNAM-A-LESSON ” INTRUSION WHERE 250,000 CHINESE ARMY SUPPOSED TO MARCH THROUGH THE STREET OF HANOI IN 7 DAYS, INSTEAD AFTER 2 MONTHS HAVING TO SETTLE FOR BURNING BORDER TOWN CITIES AND KILLING CIVILIANS, ABANDONED THE INVASION 300 MILES FROM THE TARGET. THIS WAR SHOWED THE TRUE FACE OF A 2 FACES NEIGHBOR, INSTIGATING AND SUPPORTING THE KHMER ROUGE KILLING 1/2 OF ITS POPULATION AND FORCED A BARELY RECOVERED VIETNAM INTO A COSTLY WAR. WHATEVER VIETNAM MAY HAVE OWNED CHINA FOR THE WARTIME HELP; THESE 2 WARS HAVE ERASED ALL DEBTS AND REMINDED VIETNAM TO ALWAYS BE READY TO DEAL WITH CHINA. THE OLD LEADERS ARE GONE, THE NEW LEADERS MAY BE WEAK AND THE COUNTRY IS STILL VERY POOR… BUT THE VIETNAMESE WILL PULL TOGETHER ONCE THE WORD CHINESE INVADER MENTIONED.

  • truth_will_set_us_free

    Tibetans and Uighur muslims are not chinese and they resent communist domination, and as communist china is manifesting that it is a wolf in sheep’s skin, soon these countries will strengthen alliances to protect themselves, the china communist party is a growing monster, the successor of Nazi and adolf hitler. . . .

  • truth_will_set_us_free

    DENG COMMITED A BLUNDER WHEN HE ORDERED THE ATTACKED OF VIETNAM IN THE LATE 70S. VIETCONGS FRESHED AND HARDENED BY WAR ROUTED & HUMILIATED CHINA IN ALL FRONTS. PLA WAS BEATEN BLACK AND BLUE.

  • darragh scully

    They didnt have the balls to go any further than they did. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/rasputin.casanova Rasputin Casanova

    sisipsipin na raw oil natin…. mga unggoy sa gobyerno IDILAT NYO MATA NYO AT BUKSAN ANG ISIP. 

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