China has called on the US energy giant behind a massive oil spill to speed up its clear-up efforts and issue a public apology after it missed a deadline to clean the sea bed, state media said Thursday.
The State Oceanic Administration (SOA) asked ConocoPhillips to explain why it has taken more than two months to collect oil leaked from two of its drilling platforms onto the sea bed, the official Xinhua news agency said.
The SOA had ordered the company to clean up the sea bed by August 7, but ConocoPhillips said it had been forced to halt the clear-up for four days due to severe weather as Typhoon Muifa barrelled towards China.
A statement on the company's website said it was "remobilising personnel and equipment to Bohai Bay to resume its response operations", referring to the area off China's northeast coast where the spill occurred.
ConocoPhillips' partner in the Penglai 19-3 oilfield is the China National Offshore Oil Corporation and both companies earlier issued an apology after the leak was first detected there on June 4.
ConocoPhillips, which said earlier this month the spill might be worse than its previous estimate of 1,500 barrels, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Oil from the leak has been spotted on beaches in northern Hebei province and northeastern Liaoning province, Xinhua said.
Local fishermen have blamed the oil for the death of much of their harvest, and environmental groups have called for more transparency over the clean-up process.
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