Beijing: The waves of the disputed South China Sea will now be disturbed as Beijing has decided to put into service the a deep-water drilling rig developed by it on Wednesday.
The sixth-generation semi-submersible CNOOC 981 will begin operations in a sea area 320 km southeast of Hong Kong at a water depth of 1,500 meters, China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) - the country's largest offshore oil producer - said.
It will be the first independent deep-water oil drilling by a Chinese company, marking "a substantial step" made by the country's deep-sea oil industry.
About 70 percent of oil and gas reserves in the resource-rich South China Sea are contained in 1.54 million sq km of deep-water regions, or sea areas with depths of over 300 meters.
However, most of China's current offshore oil exploration is conducted less than 300 meters below the surface.
The South China Sea is estimated to have 23-30 billion tonnes of oil and 16 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, accounting for one-third of China's total oil and gas resources.