China Criticizes ConocoPhillips in Bohai Bay Spill

ConocoPhillips received harsh criticism Friday from Chinese authorities for the U.S. company's handling of oil leaks offshore eastern China.

In a statement posted on the State Oceanic Administration's website, officials said ConocoPhillips was deficient in taking necessary preventative measures in June after oil was found leaking in Bohai Bay off of Platforms B and C of Penglai 19-3, China's largest oilfield.

The spill resulted in marine pollution and environmental damage to 6,200 sq km of the bay. ConocoPhillips said only 700 barrels of crude and 2,500 barrels of oil-based drilling mud spilled into the ocean.

"Conoco was deficient in management of the field and didn't adopt the necessary measures after the spill, all of which caused a larger oil spill because of its negligence," the Chinese government agency said in a statement on its Website.

ConocoPhillips has a 49 percent stake in the field and operates it in conjunction with state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC), which holds a 51 percent stake.

Officials with ConocoPhillips said Friday it is working to address management shortcomings that will improve safety procedures at its operations and prevent future oil spills.

"ConocoPhillips sincerely regrets these unfortunate incidents," said John McLemore, a ConocoPhillips spokesman, in an email to The Associated Press. "We have fully cooperated throughout the extensive and thorough investigation and have learned very important lessons."

The Penglai 19-3 oilfield can produce up to 160,000 barrels of crude oil a day. The field remains offline now after being shut down in September due to subsequent leaks.

Chinese media have frequently attacked ConocoPhillips handling of the oil spill, comparing it to BP's handling of the Macondo disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this report.


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