BEIJING China's State Oceanic Administration (SOA) said on Friday that an oil leak by a subsidiary of Houston-based ConocoPhillips in China's Bohai Bay is a major accident caused by negligence.
"ConocoPhillips China has violated the overall development plan in its production at Penglai 19-3 oilfield," the administration said in a statement on its website (www.soa.gov.cn).
"Despite obvious signs of accident, the company has not taken necessary precaution measures, causing a major marine pollution accident due to negligence," it said.
The company has also failed to meet requirements of an environmental impact assessment report, which lowered its ability in dealing with the emergency, the statement added.
The oil spill, which began in June, has polluted 6,200 square kilometers of waters, the administration added.
The administration in early September ordered ConocoPhillips China to halt all operations at Penglai 19-3, China's largest offshore oilfield, after it said the company had failed to seal oil leaks.
ConocoPhillips has been asked to draw up a new environmental impact assessment report for the oilfield and will only be allowed to resume operations once the report has been approved by the government.
Chinese media sharply criticized ConocoPhillips for the spill, for which the oil major apologized and established two funds to clean up and compensate for any damage.
Last month, China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC), the country's largest offshore oil producer, said all oil spill sources had been sealed at the oilfield.
ConocoPhillips owns a 49 percent stake in the 168,000 barrel-per-day oilfield and acts as the operator, while China's top offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC Ltd has a 51 percent stake.
(Reporting by Judy Hua and Chen Aizhu; editing by Miral Fahmy)