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ConocoPhillips to compensate for oil leaks

By Zhou Yan and Zhao Yinan (China Daily)

13:37, April 28, 2012

US energy giant ConocoPhillips China and its partner the China National Offshore Oil Corp have agreed to pay 1.68 billion yuan ($267 million) for the oil leaks off northern Bohai Bay, China's maritime watchdog announced on Friday.

ConocoPhillips China will pay 1.09 billion yuan in compensation for the oil spills, while China National Offshore Oil Corp and the Chinese unit of ConocoPhillips will pay 480 million yuan and 113 million yuan respectively for environmental protection efforts in Bohai Bay, according to the State Oceanic Administration.

Such efforts include habitat restoration, reducing the discharge of oil pollutants, and monitoring and research on the impact of oil spills on the environment, the administration said on its website.

The two leaks in the Penglai 19-3 oilfield, the country's biggest offshore oilfield, released more than 700 barrels of crude oil into the waters and triggered widespread anger and criticism from the Chinese public about ConocoPhillips' inefficiency in dealing with the accidents.

It's the latest move after the two oil companies said in January that they had reached agreements with the Ministry of Agriculture to settle the fishery compensation, under which ConocoPhillips will provide 1 billion yuan to improve fishery resources in the waters. The two companies also promised to put a total of 350 million yuan to work on fishery resources recovery and conservation.

Both of the companies didn't clarify whether the latest funds announced on Friday are linked to the previous ones, but did confirm the administration's statement, without elaborating.

The government ordered the US company to suspend operation of the oilfield in September after claiming that the oil leaks were caused by "negligence."

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