Calgary-based and Li Ka-shing-linked Husky Oil said it had signed an exploration deal with China National Offshore Oil Corp, the seventh petroleum contract between the two companies. The latest involves probing a 3,900-square-kilometre block about 300 km southeast of Hong Kong. Beijing only approved CNOOC's plan to probe the South China Sea field earlier this month. Described as having "good exploration potential," Husky officials said the probe will be conducted in deep water, with an average depth of 1,300 meters. The terms give Husky the right to drill up to three wells before 2011, and CNOOC the right to claim 51% interest. The deal also requires Husky to pay all exploration costs.