China Oil Giant CNOOC Targeted by U.S. After Years of South China Sea Tension

China Oil Giant CNOOC Targeted by U.S. After Years of South China Sea Tension

China’s third-biggest oil company faces a U.S. blacklist, which could spur major outflows from its Hong Kong-listed unit, after years of involvement in offshore drilling in disputed South China Sea waters.

China National Offshore Oil Corp., the nation’s main deepwater explorer, is among four companies to be added to a list of firms owned or controlled by the Chinese military, Reuters reported. The move comes as the Trump administration plans several new hard-line moves against Beijing in the final weeks of its term.

CNOOC hasn’t yet received any official notice or decision from any relevant U.S. government agency, the firm’s listed unit said in an exchange filing in Hong Kong. “The company is closely monitoring the development of the situation,” it said.

CNOOC is the smallest of China’s so-called big three state-owned oil majors after China National Petroleum Corp. and China Petrochemical Corp., also known as Sinopec. CNOOC’s operations in the South China Sea have run into controversy because China claims drilling rights in waters far from its borders, and within 200 miles of countries like Vietnam and the Philippines.