BEIJING Aug 16 Chinese maritime authorities are
considering demanding more than 100 million yuan ($15.6 million)
in compensation from CNOOC Ltd and ConocoPhillips
following a spill at a Bohai Bay oilfield jointly owned
by the firms, a Chinese newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Citing unnamed sources, the Economic Information Daily said
government officials were working on plans to deal with the
ongoing spill at the Penglai 19-3 oilfield, China's biggest
offshore oil field.
ConocoPhillips China, a subsidiary of Houston-based
ConocoPhillips that operates the oilfield, said on Friday that
as many as 2,500 barrels of oil and mud had leaked from the
oilfield in the Bohai Bay, off the coast of northern China.
"Just considering compensation for damage to the marine
environment, without considering damage to the aquatic breeding
grounds of fisheries and to the tourist industry of seaside
hotels and resorts, the State Oceanic Administration will launch
a compensation plan for over 100 million yuan," said one of the
sources, according to the newspaper, which is run by China's
official Xinhua news agency.
"If the scope of the pollution expands, the scale of the
compensation could also grow," the source said.
The report did not say how much of any compensation payments
would be shouldered by ConocoPhillips or its Chinese unit.
"Now we're at the stage of liaising with CNOOC and
ConocoPhillips China, but there has been no final decision on
whether there will be litigation or mediation outside the
courts," said the unnamed source, according to the paper.
ConocoPhillips has a 49 percent stake in the oilfield and
acts as the operator, while China's offshore oil specialist
CNOOC Ltd has the remainder.
Both ConocoPhillips China and CNOOC Ltd had no immediate
comment on the newspaper report, when reached by Reuters on
Last month, the State Oceanic Administration said
ConocoPhillips could be fined up to 200,000 yuan ($30,946) for
the accident, according to law. But the company would probably
have to pay out much more in compensation for ecological and
The oil leaks, which started in June, have polluted 840
square kilometres of water, the Oceanic Administration has said.
The Administration has accused ConocoPhillips of being too
slow to clean up the spill and demanded an apology. It has also
asked the company to contain the oil spill, clean up polluted
areas and conduct a thorough investigation before Aug 31 to
eliminate further risks of oil spills.
$1 = 6.390 Chinese Yuan
(Reporting by Chris Buckley and Judy Hua; Editing by Ken Wills)