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China may overhaul offshore oil ruels

By Zhou Yan and Wang Qian (China Daily)

08:41, November 07, 2011

BEIJING - The government may revise regulations covering joint offshore oil exploration with foreign companies following a spill off the northeastern coast at a field operated by ConocoPhillips China, sources said.

The proposed revision is being led by the Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) and aims to strengthen government oversight of offshore oil and gas exploration involving foreign enterprises, according to a source who requested anonymity.

The source said that the revised amendments to the regulations would nail down regulator responsibility, especially for the MLR, the National Energy Administration, the General Administration of Quality Supervision,

Inspection and Quarantine, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the State Oceanic Administration. Detailed penalties for environmental damage caused by companies and violations of other rules would also be covered.

A senior official from the MLR, who also declined to be named, confirmed to China Daily that the amendments are under discussion among officials and experts, and may be sent to the State Council this year. He did not disclose any further details.

Amendments to the regulations, which were introduced in 1982, have been carried out before, in 2001 and 2011. But these could be the most comprehensive changes.

Under existing rules, China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) is authorized by the government as the exclusive entity to carry out domestic offshore oil exploration activities with foreign companies.

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