First Cuba, now this. China has reportedly made a Bohai bay discovery of perhaps 20 billion tons of oil. Whether or not this is metric or english tons1, it is still close to 150 billion barrels, which by all accounts makes China number two after Saudi Arabia.
This has all sorts of implications in geo-politics. But then again governments do lie.
What the US wouldn't do to get some intelligence on the real situation in China. Getting a spook (ala Valerie Plame) inserted into Saudi Arabia seems peanuts compared to this predicament.
The Ministry of Land and Resources is about to introduce a new auditing system for oil and gas reserves to encourage Sino-foreign exploration ventures, but multinational companies contend the lack of substantial reserves, rather than the way they are measured, is the biggest barrier to foreign investment.
1Curiously, reporting in tons seems fairly common for China. Oil shale and tar sands are reported in tons elsewhere. Tons makes infinite more sense in this situation. Could there be an inference we can make here?