The State Oceanic Administration of China (SOA) is preparing for a compensation claim against the local unit of the U.S.-based ConocoPhilips for damages to the environment resulting from offshore oil spills that began in June in Bohai Bay.
The SOA is recruiting legal advisers to pursue compensation claims, and so far 49 domestic legal firms have expressed interest in signing on, the administration said in a statement on its website, adding that a legal team will stand in place at the end of this month.
“The spills in the Penglai 19-3 oilfield has greatly polluted the waters of Bohhai Bay and in accordance with Marine Environment Protection Law of China and other related laws and regulations, parties related all have rights to file a compensation claim against the responsible party,” the statement said, “On the damage to marine environment, the state’s marine administration authority will represent the nation to fill the claim.”
ConocoPhillips apologized to the public for the third time for the oil spills in a press release in Beijing Wednesday, and said it would be “responsible” for the issue.
For compensations, the company said it would “assume the primary responsibility as the operator,” but ConocoPhillips China President Georg Storaker said the company has not yet received any compensation claims.
Georg Storaker also said that the clean-up would be completed as of the end
ConocoPhillips China operates the wells in the Bohai’s Penglai 19-3 oilfield in partnership with state-run China National Offshore Oil Corp. The spills covered 324 square miles, and have led to concerns over damage to the marine environment in Bohai.
Some 700 families of fishermen were ready to make compensation claims against ConocoPhillips, China Business News reported Tuesday.
The tenth oil spill has been reported by ConocoPhilips after they admitted the discovery of nine new leaks from its Penglai 19-3 oil filed on Saturday, the official Xinhuanet reported Wednesday.