The hydrocarbon potential of the South China Sea (SCS) has become a source of tension between the littoral states of the region and, to a certain extent, a number of outside actors. However, the SCS's significance to global oil and gas supplies is overhyped.
Instead, it is the region's fisheries rather than fossil fuels that have the potential to ignite a conflict.
Put simply, speculation that the SCS constitutes a "second Persian Gulf" lacks substance. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the region's offshore energy resources _ at just over 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas _ are comparable to European supplies.
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