China’s oceanic authority urges extensive checks in all offshore oilfields

The State Oceanic Administration (SOA) on Tuesday urged extensive checks to be conducted throughout all offshore oil-and gas-fields following the oil leak in a Bohai Bay oilfield under operation of a subsidiary of a U.S.-based energy company.

Liu Cigui, head of the SOA, made the remarks during a meeting on the Bohai Sea’s environment held urgently in the northern city of Tianjin, according to an SOA statement issued Tuesday.

Calling for closer coordination among oceanic authorities and local governments in the regions centering on the Bohai Sea for oceanic environment protection, Liu ordered intensified inspections over all offshore surveying and developing activities, as well as a closer eye on potential algae blooms and red tides.

The oil leak was first spotted early last month in the Penglai 19-3 oilfield, which is being operated by ConocoPhillips China (COPC) under an arrangement with China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), China’s largest offshore oil producer.

COPC was responsible for the oil spills that caused “a certain level” of damage to the nearby oceanic environment, the SOA has said.

According to the SOA, information collected by remote sensing satellites on Sunday found oil belts again near B and C platforms, where the leaks had reportedly been brought under control on June 19 and 21, respectively.

Investigators on Sunday found that some oil was still leaking from platform C, and there were still signs indicating that oil leaks may happen again around platform B.

Addressing the meeting Tuesday, Liu repeated his calls for effective moves to be taken by the COPC to discover the actual causes for the oil leaks soon, conduct thorough checks for potential leaks, and take every measure to stifle them.

Urging investigators to expedite the handling of the oil leak in the Penglai 19-3 oilfield, Liu asked oceanic authorities to publicize in a fair, objective and timely manner the information of public concern.

In a statement posted Tuesday on its official website, the SOA said a new oil spill occurred in CNOOC’s Suizhong 36-1 oilfield in the Bohai Sea at about 1:30 a.m. due to a malfunction of the oilfield’s central platform, citing a report submitted by CNOOC’s Tianjin branch.

It is estimated that about 0.1-0.15 cubic meters of oil was leaked, polluting an area of one square km, the SOA statement said.

CNOOC has used oil absorbent mats and sprayed oil dispersant to clean up the area, and the SOA has also dispatched a helicopter and used a remote-sensing satellite to monitor the spill, it added.


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