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Chinese gov't urges deep investigation of ConocoPhillips oil spills

(Xinhua)

10:09, September 08, 2011


BEIJING, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- China's State Council, or Cabinet, on Wednesday ordered relevant departments to thoroughly investigate the ConocoPhillips' oil spills and hand out punishments according to law.

Premier Wen Jiabao presided over a cabinet meeting and asked authorities to "ascertain the cause of the incident, as well as its harm and losses," in order to hold the company responsible and safeguard the legal interests of those who have suffered losses, according to a statement released after the meeting.

Two oil spills occurred on June 4 and June 17 in Penglai 19-3 oil field in north China's Bohai Bay. The spills put 3,200 barrels of oil into the bay.

As of Monday, pollution from the spills has spread across 5,500 square km of sea, resulting in "serious harm to Bohai's marine environment as well as the local fishing industry," said the statement.

As the sole operator of the field, the country's largest, ConocoPhillips China (COPC), which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Houston-based oil giant ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP), has been blamed for the leaks.

"Relevant departments should urge the company responsible for the incident to locate potential leaking spots, block all leaking sources, carefully clean up all spills and reduce pollution effects as best as they can," said the statement.

The State Council has demanded ConocoPhillips draft a new report concerning the effects of the spill on the marine environment.

In addition, it called for strengthened monitoring and management of the marine environment as well as safety checks over the country's ocean oil fields to toughen safety measures and erase potential risks.

Relevant departments are also urged to make public comprehensive, accurate information on the progress of the incident in a timely manner and step up efforts to improve laws and regulations concerning the protection of the marine environment, according to the statement.

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