Chinese geologists have found 38 oil and gas basins under the South China Sea and plan to explore them this year, state media said Monday.
The government geologists located the 38 basins in 'super-thick oil and gas-bearing strata' in the northern South China Sea, the official China Daily quoted Wang Min, a vice-minister of land and resources, as saying at a national geological conference.
Wang said his ministry would conduct 'comprehensive geological and environmental inspections at key offshore areas' including the northern South China Sea, the southern Yellow Sea and areas near the southern Chinese island of Hainan.
The newspaper did not give the exact location of the oil and gas deposits in the South China Sea, much of which is subject to competing claims between China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan and the Philippines.
China and Vietnam both increased patrols in disputed areas last year, amid regular spats over alleged incursions by fishing vessels from the two nations.
Wang said geologists also found onshore oil and gas deposits near the Songliao Basin and the Yin'e Basin in northern China, and the Qiangtang Basin on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
They discovered natural gas hydrate for the first time in the northern South China Sea and in permafrost areas of the Qilian Mountains in north-western China, he was quoted as saying.
'As a big developing country, we must make more efforts in exploring domestic supplies to ensure our energy security,' Wang said. Author: Bill Smith
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