HA NOI — The PetroVietnam Group yesterday called on the China National Offshore Oil Corporation to cancel its solicitation of international firms to bid on nine offshore oil blocks on the continental shelf of Viet Nam.
|The map shows the nine offshore oil blocks on Viet Nam's continental shelf.
On Saturday, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) announced its invitation for international bids to explore the blocks, which cover 160,000sq.km.
"PetroVietnam affirms that the area which CNOOC has offered for international bidding lies entirely within Viet Nam's 200-nautical-mile exclusive zone and continental shelf in accordance with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea," PVN chairman Nguyen Van Hau told a press conference.
Hau said the blocks lay deep within Viet Nam's continental shelf, overlapping blocks 128 to 132 and blocks 145 to 156 on which PetroVietnam and its partners have been conducting exploratory and exploitative activities for many years.
PetroVietnam has active exploration contracts with India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation in block 128, with Russia's Gazprom in blocks 129 to 132, with Petro-Vietnam Exploration & Production in blocks 148 and 149, and with US-based ExxonMobil in blocks 156 to 159.
He condemned the CNOOC move, approved by the China's government, as "an illegal act of no value" which gravely violated international law and Viet Nam's sovereign rights and legitimate national interests, and fanned tensions in the East Sea.
"This is absolutely not a disputed area," Hau said.
PetroVietnam strongly condemned and requested that China cease the above mentioned wrongful invitation for bids, strictly conform to agreements on basic principles guiding the settlement of sea issues between Viet Nam and China and respect international law, especially the 1982 UNCLOS, and the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea.
PetroVietnam urged international oil companies not to participate in the bidding for these nine blocks and confirmed that PetroVietnam operations in this area would proceed in accordance with signed contracts and Vietnamese law.
Hau noted that Petro-Vietnam currently had contracts with about 60 foreign partners and the top condition for the co-operation was that these foreign companies would respect the country's sovereignty and sovereign rights, as well as international law and interntional practices in the petroleum industry.
CNOOC itself has signed and carried out a number of joint oil and gas ventures with PetroVietnam and its affiliates in the northern Gulf of Tonkin, Hau noted.
He aded that Petro-Vietnam would send a letter of protest directly to CNOOC. — VNS