September 05, 2011 13:52
Chinese authorities have ordered ConocoPhillips to shut down an oil well in Bohai Bay where a massive oil leak occurred on June 4. The Chinese government admitted the accident over one month later on July 5. China's State Oceanic Administration said in a statement on its website that ConocoPhillips failed to meet its requirements to "screen out all potential sources for oil spills and block leaks once and for all," according to state-run China Daily.
The newspaper added the shutdown involves all production operations, including drilling, production and natural gas extraction at the Peng Lai 19-3 field.
Despite the fact that it is China's largest offshore drill, Chinese authorities appear to have ordered the shutdown because they cannot afford to let the oil slick spread any further. The field is expected to remain closed indefinitely, since Chinese authorities say they cannot allow drilling to resume until a new development plan is approved based on a probe into the cause of the leak.
Chinese media report that oil slicks continue to be spotted in waters surrounding the oilfield even after the Aug. 31 deadline the SOA had set for clean-up operations, while a small amount of oil continues to leak from the seabed near platform C.
The SOA said in the statement the accident was caused by a "failure by ConocoPhillips to take adequate safety measures in advance and conduct excessive drilling, which caused the surrounding seabed to become unstable."
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