FT story on new Chinese estimate for natural gas ("far greater reserves . . . than previously thought") in South China Sea (roughly 500T cubic feet). Also 17B tonnes of oil.
Yes, those are both weird British measures.
But the accompanying reality:
Although only a fraction of those resources would be economically feasible to extract, analysts calculate that the levels of reserves could one day double China's current proven reserves in oil and gas.
Hmm. A doubling of reserves, but the new stuff is largely not worth extracting. I'll leave the glass-half-full/empty calculation to others.
Piece also quotes Hu Jintao on way out of power declaring that next generation of leaders must make China a "maritime power."
But Wang Yilin, boss of CNOOC, while noting that Hu's words "showed the way," also said "the company wanted to 'lay aside disputes and develop [the South China Sea reserves] jointly' with international companies."
So there you have it: China is declared to be way behind as a maritime power, so it must build up those assets. Big reason is South China Sea and all those energy reserves, even if only a fraction will ever be pulled and that difficult feat requires lots of joint ventures with foreign energy firms.
Sounds like WWIII to me. Thank God for the AirSea Battle Concept, because we all know that sea control = seabed control (sort of). I foresee vast drone forces duking it out over a no-man's water. It'll cost several fortunes, but all those unfeasibly-accessed energy reserves will pay for it.
You have your orders.