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Beijing says deep sea rig that sparked standoff with Vietnam later found gas closer to China

  • In this Sept. 11, 2014 photo, workers lay cables on a new oil rig under construction for China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) in a shipyard in Qingdao in east China's Shandong province.  The Chinese exploration rig at the center of a tense maritime standoff with Vietnam earlier this year has made its first deep sea gas discovery in the politically volatile South China Sea, state media announced Tuesday, Sept. 16. The discovery by CNOOC was made about a month after its rig withdrew in July from Vietnam's exclusive economic zone to far less-contested waters closer to China. (AP Photo) CHINA OUT

    In this Sept. 11, 2014 photo, workers lay cables on a new oil rig under construction for China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) in a shipyard in Qingdao in east China's Shandong province. The Chinese exploration rig at the center of a tense maritime standoff with Vietnam earlier this year has made its first deep sea gas discovery in the politically volatile South China Sea, state media announced Tuesday, Sept. 16. The discovery by CNOOC was made about a month after its rig withdrew in July from Vietnam's exclusive economic zone to far less-contested waters closer to China. (AP Photo) CHINA OUT  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014 photo, workers lay cables on a new oil rig under construction for China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) in a shipyard in Qingdao in east China's Shandong province.  The Chinese exploration rig at the center of a tense maritime standoff with Vietnam earlier this year has made its first deep sea gas discovery in the politically volatile South China Sea, state media announced Tuesday, Sept. 16. The discovery by CNOOC was made about a month after its rig withdrew in July from Vietnam's exclusive economic zone to far less-contested waters closer to China. (AP Photo) CHINA OUT

    In this Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014 photo, workers lay cables on a new oil rig under construction for China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) in a shipyard in Qingdao in east China's Shandong province. The Chinese exploration rig at the center of a tense maritime standoff with Vietnam earlier this year has made its first deep sea gas discovery in the politically volatile South China Sea, state media announced Tuesday, Sept. 16. The discovery by CNOOC was made about a month after its rig withdrew in July from Vietnam's exclusive economic zone to far less-contested waters closer to China. (AP Photo) CHINA OUT  (The Associated Press)

One of China's national oil companies has announced its first gas field discovery in the South China Sea, about 150 kilometers south of the country's southernmost island of Hainan.

The find, announced in state media Tuesday, is the first by a $1 billion deep sea exploration rig that China National Offshore Oil Corp. deployed two years ago.

The rig was at center of a tense marine standoff with Vietnam in May when Beijing allowed it to be towed inside Vietnam's exclusive economic zone.

The discovery by CNOOC was made about a month after the rig withdrew in July to far less-contested waters closer to China.

It remains to be seen whether the field will be commercially viable.