China Shuts Down US Operated Oil Field

Posted September 2nd, 2011 at 10:10 am (UTC-5)
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Beijing is ordering a U.S.-based oil company to stop drilling in one of China largest offshore fields, accusing the firm of failing to plug an ongoing leak.

China’s State Oceanic Administration Friday told ConocoPhillips to stop production at the Penglai 19-3 oil field in Bohai Bay. It said the U.S. company’s efforts to repair the leak first detected in June were incomplete.

ConocoPhillips operates platforms in the Penglai 19-3 oil field with CNOOC, China’s biggest offshore driller. China had given the company until August 31 to fix the problems.

The leak, discovered in June, released an estimated 3,200 barrels of oil and fluids into Bohai Bay, spreading to beaches in Hebei and Liaoning provinces.

The leak is also blamed for hurting tourism and damaging the environment. Some fishermen say the leak has killed a large portion of their usual harvest.

On Wednesday, ConocoPhillips submitted a report to the Chinese government claiming it had completely cleaned up the spill and had put devices in place to capture any remaining oil and drilling fluids.

Chinese officials said satellite monitoring and underwater robots showed oil and fluids continue to seep out.

ConocoPhillips operates the Penglai drilling platforms. It owns a 49 percent stake in the oil field, while CNOOC owns 51 percent.