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Bohai compensation deal unresolved

By Mo Ting (Global Times)

08:13, December 23, 2011

A lawyer and a fisherman involved in the Bohai Bay oil spill denied yesterday that ConocoPhillips was engaged in negotiations with them about the newly established compensation fund.

The company said at the press conference on Tuesday that they were speeding up the process of finalizing the compensation fund ahead of Spring Festival.

Don E. Wallette Jr, president of ConocoPhillips Asia-Pacific, said at the press conference that the company was responsible for leaks near platform B and C of the Penglai 19-3 oilfield in Bohai Bay and has established a fund to provide compensation to plaintiffs.

The fund will be run by independent institutions and aims to offer "fair, expeditious and convenient" compensation to both public and individual claimants affected by the spills, he said. However, the company did not disclose the scale or source of the fund, the agency reported.

As for the amount of compensation the claimants can receive from the fund, Wallette said it was not the right time to inform the public. "We need to discuss the losses with the local governments and fishermen to define the compensation," Wallette told the Beijing Times.

Zhao Jingwei, one of the lawyers representing fishermen suing ConocoPhillips, told the Global Times that the company had not contacted him or his clients about the compensation fund.

Zhao and his clients, a group of aquatic farmers, filed the lawsuit at the Tianjin Maritime Court last week and were asked by the court on Tuesday to provide additional materials so that the court could receive the case.

Zhao said they would still stick to legal measures to help the aquatic farmers claim their rights despite the fact the compensation fund had already been established.

Calls to ConocoPhillips went unanswered yesterday by press time.

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