August 24th, 2011 | Xinhua ConocoPhillips vows to clean up oil spills
US oil giant ConocoPhillips said on Wednesday it can complete the clean-up of oil spilled into the Bohai Bay in north China before the deadline set by Chinese maritime authorities.
Georg Storaker, President of ConocoPhillips China (COPC), said at a press conference in Beijing that the company has thus far not received any demand for compensation but insisted that they will “discuss” the issue in case of a lawsuit.
In a joint interview with Xinhua, the People’s Daily and the China Daily, Storaker said 95 percent of the oil-based mud on the seabed had been cleaned up, and the clean-up of the rest contaminated mud would be completed by the end of August.
He said COPC is now working closely with the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), which jointly owns the oilfield, to solve the problem.
According to Storaker, about 115 cubic meters or 700 barrels of crude oil spilled on the sea surface, while 2,500 barrels of oil-based mud sank to the seabed.
He said 80 frogmen dispatched by COPC are now working at the “C” platform to clean up the oil spills.
COPC said it plans to pump cement into the B-23 well to prevent such an accident as that occurred in the “B” platform from happening again.
The US company previously reported spills coming from two of its platforms to Chinese authorities in June. The State Oceanic Administration (SOA), the Chinese maritime authorities, later found an oil spill originating from COPC’s “B” platform and recovered oil-contaminated mud from its “C” platform, both of which are located in the bay’s Penglai 19-3 oilfield.
The US company admitted later that nine leakages were found inside the two drilling platforms, leading to suspicions that the company has made little progress in checking for potential oil-spill sources.
The SOA ordered COPC to “take all effective measures” to stop the oil spill and remove risks of any new leakage before August 31.
Oil-drilling operations in the field are conducted by COPC in cooperation with the CNOOC, the country’s largest offshore oil producer.
Both COPC and CNOOC have apologized for the spill, and the US company said last week it hoped to clean up the oil by the end of August.
Beaches were reportedly polluted and marine species killed in the nearby provinces of Hebei and Liaoning by the oil spill.
The US company is facing legal action and mounting public anger over the oil spill.
The SOA said last week it plans to sue ConocoPhillips over the spill while a Chinese lawyer is also reportedly planning a lawsuit against CNOOC and ConocoPhillips over the leaks.