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China probes ConocoPhillips over oil spill

BEIJING (AFP) - China said Tuesday it was investigating U.S. oil giant ConocoPhillips‘ role in a spill off its eastern coast that authorities kept hidden from the public for nearly a month.

ConocoPhillips’s China unit in a partnership with the state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) operates the oil field in Bohai Bay, where the spill was detected on June 4 but only made public on Friday.

“The legal and supervisory maritime departments have opened a case on this oil spill and placed ConocoPhillips under investigation,” the State Oceanic Administration said in a statement, noting that evidence was being collected.

An area measuring 840 square kilometers had been badly polluted due to the spill, the statement said.

On Tuesday at the government‘s first news conference about the spill, Li Xiaoming, head of the ocean administration’s Marine Environmental Protection Division, said the slick was discovered on June 4, the state-run China News Agency reported.

Li said oil had seriously contaminated ocean waters, with the quality of water in the spill area now at the worst level on the administration‘s four-grade pollution scale.

ConocoPhillips, which operates the Penglai 19-3 oil field where the leak originated, had been ordered to halt operations on June 13, Li said.

The spill has been controlled, but “small leaking points” continued to discharge oil into the ocean, Li said. The total amount of oil spilled is still being calculated, he added.

Dead seaweed and rotting fish could be seen in waters around Nanhuangcheng Island in Shandong province near the site of an oil spill, the China Daily said.

“The environmental impact caused by the oil leak is long-term,” the newspaper quoted a local fisheries association official as saying.

Nanhuangcheng Island is about 75 kilometers from the offshore oil field in Bohai Bay where the leak happened.

CNOOC tried to stem anger over its failure to warn the public about the spill, saying government authorities were aware of the incident from the start.

“We reported the spills to authorities soon after they took place and treatment of the spills is under supervision,” CNOOC spokesman Jiang Yongzhi was quoted as telling the Global Times.

The spill was first reported by a member of the public on the popular Chinese micro-blogging site Sina Weibo on June 21.

<한글 기사>


중국, 대규모 원유유츌  은폐

중국 해양국은 5일 보하이만(渤海灣)  원유유출사고 조사결과를 발표, 지난 6월4일부터 원유가 누출됐으며  이로인해 주변해역 840㎢가 오염됐다고 밝혔다고 인민망(人民網) 등 현지 매체들이 전했다.

원유누출은 보하이만에 있는 펑라이(蓬萊) 19-3 유전에 있는 시추대 B와  시추 대 C 등 2곳에서 발생했으며 사고후 감압과 시멘트 밀봉 등을 통해 유정수리 등을 마쳤다고  중국해양국 해양한경보호사(司)의 리샤오밍(李曉明) 사장은 밝혔다.

원유유출로 인한 해양 오염범위는 840㎢에 이르며 코노코필립스중국석유 등  시 추회사들은 이미 유출원유를 회수하는 등 사후조치가 거의 마무리됐다고  리 사장은 전했다.

리 사장은 주욱 해양환경보호법에 따라 사고를 일으킨중국해양석유총공사(중해유)와  코노코필립스중국석유에 20만 위안의 벌금을 부과했다고 덧붙였다.

리 사장은 원유누출 사고 은폐 의혹과 관련, 시추대 B에서 원유유출 사실은 6월 4일 오전 7시(현지시간)에 발견됐으며 코노코필립스중국석유는  시추대 C에서  사고 가 발생한 날인 6월17일 사고보고를 해왔다고 전했다.

보하이만 원유유출사고는 네티즌들을 통해  6월말 알려졌으며 현지 매체들은 중 해유 등이 해양환경에 막대한 영향을 미치는 사고를 보름이상 은폐해 왔다고 비난했었다.
(연합뉴스)
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