“Some of the South China Sea’s most productive oil and gas deposits are off the coast of the states Sabah and Sarawak on Malaysia’s side of Borneo,” reported the Wall Street Journal.An international energy consortium recently announced the discovery of natural-gas off Malaysia’s coast. China issued no public objections regarding the announcement. China has also been quiet over the years regarding extensive Malaysian-sponsored oil-and-gas exploration and production in the overlapping South China Sea territory. This low profile stance on overlapping claims is in contrast to the confrontation between China and Vietnam. Why is there such a huge difference? Let’s take a look.
The Wall Street Journal reported that, “at least nine oil-and-gas blocks are now under development and expected to start pumping within two years. Investors include Royal Dutch Shell, U.S.-based Murphy Oil Corp. and ConocoPhillips.”
An international energy consortium announced on June 22 a natural-gas discovery around 144 kilometers, or 90 miles, off the coast of Malaysia’s state of Sarawak, inside waters where China previously has asserted claims. Murphy Oil said it had explored in the area since 1999. Malaysia has also supported oil exploitation in the area. The area is the origin of most of Malaysia’s natural-gas production, according to the U.S. government Energy Information Administration.