As a Money Morning Member, you'll get our top financial news stories delivered straight to your inbox – every weekday morning.
Cancel at any time | How it works
Welcome to Money Morning - Only the News You Can Profit From.
Private Briefingwith WILLIAM PATALON III, Executive Editor
Not a member yet? Right now, you can get exclusive access to the 7 Best Stocks to Own in 2014. Click here.
Click here to get exclusive access to the 7 Best Stocks to own in 2014.
Members log in:
Not a member yet? Sign up here or learn more.
Chief Investment Strategist
33-year seasoned market analyst and professional trader with highly accurate track record. Specialty in global markets.
Global Energy Strategist
35-year expert in oil and gas policy, risk assessment, and emerging market economic development.
Capital Wave Strategist
30-year CBOE trader, market maker, and retired hedge fund honcho. Helped launch the Volatility Index in 1993.
20-year commodity guru and portfolio advisor. Top authority on metals + mining stocks. Head- quartered in Canada.
Defense + Tech Specialist
30-year veteran of tech markets with a Rolodex of Silicon Valley CEOs. Pulitzer nominee. Uncovered rare earths crisis.
30-year veteran analyst of business, economics, and financial markets. Award-winning author of "Contrarian Investing."
The South China Sea dispute, a fight over the 1.4 million-square-mile area crossed by one-third of world shipping routes, played out at the recently concluded Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Cambodia among China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines.
What's behind the fight is a vast quantity of oil and gas believed to lie beneath the South China Sea.
China and the other nations desperately want the energy resources beneath the South China Sea, and the dispute has caught the attention of global financial markets.
China's biggest offshore oil company, CNOOC Limited (NYSE ADR: CEO), recently updated its projection of energy assets in the South China Sea. It said the area could hold 17 billion tons of oil and 498 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
All those resources could not be extracted, but enough could be taken out to double China's current reserves of oil and natural gas.
For its part, China's Ministry of Land and Resources says the area contains more than 40 billion tons of oil equivalent. Most of that is believed to be in the form of natural gas.
Another Chinese estimate says 2,000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas lie under the South China Sea. That would be enough gas to meet the country's needs for the next 400 years, based on 2011 consumption levels! No wonder energy-hungry China is so interested in pushing its claims in the region.
Exploration in the South China Sea has been very limited so far because few major international oil companies want to get involved in the territorial dispute. China has already successfully pressured companies like BP plc (NYSE: BP) and Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) to abandon its deals with neighboring Vietnam.
CNOOC itself caused a diplomatic row with Vietnam in June when it put up for auction nine oil and gas blocks that Vietnam says are in its territory. The blocks had already been auctioned by Vietnam to companies including ExxonMobil and Russia's Gazprom.
CNOOC plans to push ahead in the South China Sea.
The remaining content is exclusively for Money Morning subscribers. To gain access, enter your email address: