China suspends ConocoPhillips operations

SHANGHAI, July 13 (UPI) -- China's ocean authority has ordered ConocoPhillips China to immediately suspend operations in its Bohai Bay concessions in the aftermath of two oil spills.

The suspension order involves two ConocoPhillips offshore platforms in the Penglai oilfield in Bohai Bay, as Chinese authorities remain concerned about the possibility of additional leaks.


China's State Oceanic Administration released a statement to the effect that the measures undertaken by ConocoPhillips China were primarily of a temporary and remedial nature. However, the administration said procedures instituted by COPC had failed to eliminate the possibility of new leaks.

Oil leaks were first detected in early June in COPC's B and C platforms in the Bohai Bay Penglai 19-3 oilfield concessions, the Shanghai Daily reported Wednesday.

The State Oceanic Administration announced that the oil leaks in the Penglai 19-3 Bohai Bay oilfield, operated by COPC under an arrangement with China's largest offshore oil producer China National Offshore Oil Corporation had yet to be brought under full control.

Remote sensing satellites and inspectors' visits had determined that oil had continued to leak for days from around platforms B and C after the breach was first uncovered, the State Oceanic Administration said. Investigators reportedly found oil sheens around the two platforms as well as indications that oil leaks could recur around platform B.


The State Oceanic Administration maintained that COPC was responsible for the leaks, which seriously polluted 340 square miles of Bohai Bay surface waters, sending water quality ratings in the area plummeting.

The administration released a statement saying, "Operations aren't permitted to resume until oil spill risks are fully eliminated."

"The majority of seepage has been stopped," ConocoPhillips said its own release. "A containment device was designed and constructed and put in place as a precaution should the seep occur from the main source again."

Under a production-sharing contract with ConocoPhillips, CNOOC holds a 51 percent share in the Bohai Bay offshore development. Prior to the fields being closed CNOOC said that its production from the two platforms totaled 22,000 barrels per day.

ConocoPhillips also detailed its response to that event, stating that it had mobilized an extensive amount of cleanup equipment, including 33 vessels to support pollution control efforts.

ConocoPhillips estimates that 1,500-2,000 barrels of oil were dispersed into the sea the accident but notes no oil sheen as has reached the shoreline and there have been no injuries to personnel.

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