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China still playing catch up with technology in the offshore

Cnooc needs to master the technology before it becomes a major player in the South China Sea's deep waters

When China National Offshore Oil Corporation (Cnooc) launched its first home-built deep-water oil rig - the HYSY 981 - in 2012 it was hailed in China as a major leap for the company and country into the South China Sea. State media even marked the occasion down to the minute the rig started operations: 09.38 on 9 May. "Large deep-water drilling rigs are our mobile national territory and strategic weapon for promoting the development of the country's offshore oil industry," Cnooc chairman Wang Yilin was quoted by Xinhua as saying at the time. Building a deep-water oil and gas industry is a strategic priority for China. The government sees it as a way to assert sovereignty over contested area

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