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China, Vietnam to Jointly Explore Oil, Gas

China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC), the country's biggest offshore oil and gas producer, on Monday signed a framework agreement with a Vietnamese oil firm to jointly explore oil and gas in the Beibu Bay.


The agreement was one of more than 10 deals signed by the two countries in Hanoi on the sidelines of talks between the top leaders.


The agreement, based on the principle of "putting aside disputes and jointly developing resources," marks a significant step in oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea, a statement by State-owned CNOOC said.


It was published on the website of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC) yesterday.


CNOOC spokesman Liu Junshan said the deal will build a solid foundation for both sides to tap the oil and gas resources in the Beibu Bay, set a good example for solving cross-border disputes, and contribute to the stability and development of the South China Sea area.


But he did not reveal any further details.


In March, CNOOC and State-owned oil companies of the Philippines and Vietnam signed an agreement on marine seismic undertaking in the South China Sea, under which they will jointly gather seismic data in the 140,000-square-kilometer sea area in the next three years. The cooperation started in August, CNOOC said.


(China Daily November 2, 2005)


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