China’s first deepwater oil rig launched yesterday in Shanghai.
The CNOOC981, which cost $6 billion to develop, can drill in depths up to 12,000 meters — potentially the deepest oil well in history. This is a huge increase for China, which was previously limited to 500-meter-deep seas.
The Global Times has more on the geopolitical consequences:
Energy-thirsty countries around the South China Sea have been tapping its oil resources for years, but this will mark the first instance of China’s influence spreading to its southern tides…
Zhao Ying, a scholar with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that the new drilling platform is strategically important. “The value of the South China Sea natural resources is immense. Now that technologies are available for China to tap resources there, efforts to guard its operations and deter foreign illegal explorations become meaningful and necessary,” Zhao said.