SHANGHAI, Aug. 26 (UPI) -- U.S. oil giant ConocoPhillips and the Chinese government are clashing over the size and impact of an oil spill near two oil platforms in Bohai Bay.
China's State Oceanic Administration has called the underwater oil leaks that have been intermittent since June the country's "worst oceanic environment accident."
Recently, SOA said nine oil leaks were still active in the area, while the company said it had cleaned up 90 percent of the spill and would complete the cleanup by the end of the month.
In June, ConocoPhillips said the total spill amounted to 3,200 barrels of oil and other fluids. It now categories ongoing problems as "seeps" that release about 2 liters a day from holes "the diameter of a coin," The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
China, in contrast, says the leakage has affected a 324-square-mile area, killing marine life and affecting the shoreline. It has polluted beaches in two Chinese provinces, the government says.
A lawyer in Beijing, Zhao Jingwei, said he had fielded complaints "'from more than 200 fish farmers in that area. They claimed that stuff they raised have been significantly affected by this accident. A lot of scallops and sea cucumbers died from the polluted water."
The oil comes from an offshore deposit called the Peng Lai oil field, where oil was found in 1999.
Production there is managed by Conoco, which owns 49 percent of the operation, and the China National Offshore Oil Corp., which has a 51 percent share.