The South China Sea has been engulfed in territorial disputes for decades. Its rich oil and natural gas resources is one of the biggest reasons the area is so hotly disputed. China claims the entire South China Sea as its own and recently stepped up its efforts to harness and exploit resources there, deploying its first deep sea oil rig to the area.
In late May, China announced the launch of a massive, advanced deep sea oil rig, the CNOOC 981. The rig, which is as big as a football field, was built by China's State Shipbuilding Corporation for the country's flagship offshore oil and gas producer, China National Offshore Oil Corporation. It is capable of working at depths of 3,000 meters and extracting oil as deep as 12,000 meters.
According to state media reports the rig is expected to begin drilling in the South China Sea some time this month.