Offshore in depth ///

The recent controversy in the Spratly Islands of the South China Sea is a reminder that the presence of natural resources in disputed waters can be a source of conflict, even when sharing them could provide economic benefit and political stability for countries with competing claims. 750 islets. The Spratly Islands are an archipelago of 750 islets, atolls and cays, many of which are submerged at high tide. The relatively shallow seas around the Spratlys have been a prime fishing ground for centuries. Since the 1970s, the area has been a potential target for oil and gas exploration. Without drilling any wells, China has declared that the area has potential reserves of 225 Bboe, 70% of which are natural gas. More important are the shipping lanes that pass through the area. The Christian Science Monitor reported that half the world’s ocean tonnage passes through this part of the South China Sea, and the U.S. EIA estimates that 11 MMbbl of oil and 6 Tcf of LNG are moved through the Spratlys every day.

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