HANOI (Reuters) - Rosneft Vietnam BV, a unit of Russian state oil firm Rosneft (ROSN.MM), is concerned that its recent drilling in an area of the South China Sea that is claimed by China could upset Beijing, two sources with direct knowledge of the situation told Reuters on Wednesday.
Rosneft said on Tuesday its Vietnamese unit had started drilling at the LD-3P well, part of the Lan Do “Red Orchid” offshore gas field in Block 06.1, 370 kms (230 miles) southeast of Vietnam.
The block is “within the area outlined by China’s nine-dash line,” according to energy consultancy and research firm Wood Mackenzie.
China’s U-shaped “nine-dash line” marks a vast expanses of the South China Sea that it claims, including large swathes of Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone. Maps of the area indicate the block is around 85 kms (53 miles) inside the contested area.
A series of dashes, the line is not continuous making China’s claims often ambiguous. In recent years, though, China has increasingly patrolled and enforced the area, claiming historic rights to the resources and features within it.
In March, Vietnam halted an oil drilling project in the nearby “Red Emperor” block following pressure from China, sources told Reuters. [nL3N1R53ME]
That block is licensed to Spanish energy firm Repsol (REP.MC), which has asked Vietnam to pay compensation over the issue. [nL8N1SB3JA]
The Vietnamese foreign ministry did not respond to a request from Reuters for comment.
China’s foreign ministry did not respond to a faxed request for comment late on Wednesday.
Russia’s foreign ministry did not respond to