Reuters reports that China’s state oil companies want to develop seven new gas fields in the disputed East China Sea:
Beijing had slowed exploration in the energy-rich East China Sea, one of Asia’s biggest security risks due to competing territorial claims, but is now rapidly expanding its hunt for gas, a cheaper and cleaner energy to coal and oil imports.
State-run Chinese oil and gas firm CNOOC Ltd will soon submit for state approval a plan to develop Huangyan phase II and Pingbei, totaling seven new fields, two industry officials with direct knowledge of the projects told Reuters.
The approval would bring the total number of fields in what is called the Huangyan project to nine. [Source]
Reuters adds that any approvals of the new projects will likely draw the ire of Japan, which has publicly opposed any unilateral push to explore the natural resource-rich area. Earlier this month, The Asahi Shimbun said that such moves by Beijing undermine a 2008 commitment to jointly develop the gas fields.