Only weeks after the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott introduced “Team Australia to help China build the Asian Century” to the Boao Forum on the island of Hainan in the South China Sea we get a foretaste how this much hyped Asian Century will look like: many fights over oil and gas. In a well prepared action China moved a 30,000 ton, 1$ billion semi-submersible drilling rig (HD 981) into position in contested waters 220 kms off the Vietnamese coast near the Paracel islands, and just 330 km South East of Hainan where Abbott spoke. Vietnamese coast guard boats tried to interrupt the positioning of the rig but were attacked by water cannons and rammed by Chinese boats.
For Vietnam control over offshore oil and gas is absolutely vital because oil production has peaked 10 years ago and gas is expected to peak by 2018. Abbott would neither know nor worry about it because he thinks that “at the right oil price, more oil will be found”. Yes, right there in the South China Sea, perhaps. And it will cost more than money.
New Australian Prime Minister is skeptical that peak oil has value for policy making