Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.NYSE, RDSA.LON, RDSA.AMS) signed three production-sharing deals with China’s state-owned oil company CNOOC (CEO.NYSE, 0883.HKG) Wednesday, indicating that Shell will resume oil exploration off China’s shores for the first time in a decade, The Wall Street Journal reported. Two of the deals signed are for exploration of offshore blocks in the Yinggehai Basin, which lies between Vietnam and China’s Hainan island in the contested waters of the South China Sea. A Shell spokeswoman, however, said that the blocks fall within China’s maritime boundary and are not in dispute. Shell and CNOOC will also explore for oil and gas off the coast of Gabon in West Africa. CNOOC, which recently signaled its openness to joint exploration of nine blocks in the contentious South China Sea, is seeking to develop its deep-water oil exploration expertise by working with foreign partners.