China Orders US Oil Firm to Halt Drilling Off Coast

Posted July 13th, 2011 at 8:00 am (UTC-5)
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Chinese authorities have ordered an American company to halt operations in an offshore oil field where two spills were revealed last week.

The State Oceanic Administration said Wednesday it had ordered ConocoPhillips China to stop its work at the field in Bohai Bay off China’s northeast coast. It said it wants the company to eliminate the risk of any further leaks before work resumes.

The agency announced last week that spills had occurred in the area during early to mid-June, but said the leaks had been halted and most of the oil had been cleaned up. However fishermen continued to complain of a large oil slick, and Chinese media castigated the agency for failing to disclose the leaks sooner.

ConocoPhillips is working to develop the field in partnership with China’s largest offshore oil exploration company, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation.

The State Oceanic Administration said Wednesday that satellite monitoring and inspections showed there is still oil in the water near the ConocoPhillips drilling platforms and that there is still a risk of more leaks.

Officials reported a new spill Tuesday in another field in Bohai Bay operated by CNOOC .