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Cover Stories Series 2011> Eye On Multinationals> Archive
UPDATED: August 31, 2011 NO. 35 SEPTEMBER 1, 2011
Murky Waters
The Bohai Bay oil spill brings China's marine liability laws into focus

Timeline of the Bohai Bay Oil Spill

June 4

The North Sea Branch of the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) received a report from ConocoPhillips China describing a visible oil sheen from an unidentified source found near Platform B of the Penglai 19-3 Oilfield.

June 17

A SOA surveillance ship observed a spill at Platform C of the Penglai 19-3 Oilfield during drilling.

July 5

The SOA held a press conference on the oil contamination.

July 6

ConocoPhillips China issued a news release saying the source of the oil spill was quickly and effectively contained and the sheen clean-up was close to completion.

July 11

The SOA spotted oil seepage from Platform C of the Penglai 19-3 Oilfield.

July 13

The SOA ordered ConocoPhillips China to shut down production at Platform B and C of the Penglai 19-3 Oilfield.

July 14

ConocoPhillips China estimated the aggregate amount of spilled oil and oil-based mud to be approximately 1,500 barrels (240 cubic meters).

July 31

The SOA urged ConocoPhillips China to speed up clean-up efforts.

August 3

Frogmen discovered additional locations of oil-based mud on the seabed near Platform C of the Penglai 19-3 Oilfield.

August 12

ConocoPhillips China upped its estimate of the aggregate amount of spilled oil and oil-based mud to 2,500 barrels (400 cubic meters).

August 19

ConocoPhillips China released a statement apologizing for the oil contamination.

August 20

ConocoPhillips China admitted finding nine additional seepage points near Platform C of the Penglai 19-3 Oilfield.

August 24

ConocoPhillips China said 95 percent of the oil-based mud on the seabed of the Bohai Bay had been cleaned up and the removal of the remaining contaminated mud would be completed by the end of August.

(Source: Xinhua News Agency)

China's Oil-Rich Gulf

The Bohai Sea, with an area of nearly 80,000 square km, borders Liaoning, Hebei and Shandong provinces and Tianjin Municipality in north China. It has three bays, with the Laizhou Bay to the south, Liaodong Bay to the north and Bohai Bay to the west. At the end of 2009, there were 20 oilfields with 165 rigs in the Bohai Sea

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