China Mulls More Stringent Environmental Measures for Offshore Exploration

China mulled more stringent measures for dealing with offshore oil and gas companies that caused environmental damages in its waters, according to a report Tuesday by state-owned news agency Ecns.cn.

The country's Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council published Monday a draft which indicated that the government is considering the issue of wide-ranging regulations to make offshore oil and gas firms pay compensation for damage caused to the marine environment.

According to the draft, Chinese government agencies will claim compensation for the cost of reversing environmental damage and restoring the ecological balance, while seeking "reasonable expenditure on monitoring, evaluation and professional consulting," Ecns.cn said in the report.

Relevant industries such as fisheries could seek compensation from offshore petroleum companies if the latters' activities cause environmental pollution that affected the fishing areas. The draft also laid out the responsibilities for such companies with regards to environmental protection, covering pollution prevention and control as well as oil spills.

In addition to the payment of compensations for causing damage to the marine environment, the draft said penalties, including fines and the suspension of operations, will be imposed on offshore oil and gas firms that flout the environmental regulations, Ecns.cn added.

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