China oil spill to have long-term impact: report

July 5, 2011
File photo shows a worker's feet stained with oil following a crude spill in China's northeastern Liaoning province. An oil spill off China's eastern coast kept hidden from the public for weeks has caused long-term environmental damage that will hurt the area's fishing industry, state media reported Tuesday.

An oil spill off China's eastern coast kept hidden from the public for weeks has caused long-term environmental damage that will hurt the area's fishing industry, state media reported Tuesday.

Dead seaweed and rotting fish could be seen in waters around Nanhuangcheng Island in Shandong province, near the site of an oil spill that began "in early or mid-June", but was only made public on Friday, the China Daily said.

"The environmental impact caused by the is long-term," the newspaper quoted an local fisheries association official surnamed Xiao as saying.

Nanhuangcheng Island is about 75 kilometers (45 miles) from the offshore oil field in Bohai Bay where the leak happened.

"The oil leak will definitely influence the nearby," Xiao said, adding the extent of the impact was still being assessed.

Meanwhile, state-owned China National Corporation (CNOOC) tried to stem anger over its failure to warn the public about the spill, saying government authorities were aware of the incident all along.

"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 at one point had grown into an "oil belt" about three kilometres long and 30 metres wide -- larger than previously reported, the paper said.

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

CNOOC confirmed nine days later that US oil company ConocoPhillips, which operates the Penglai 19-3 where the leak originated, first reported oil on the surface of the sea "in early or mid-June", the China Daily said.

CNOOC said cleanup work was almost finished and the spill had been brought under control.

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5 / 5 (1) Jul 05, 2011
Good to know. But we could use a little more relevant info please: size of spill, comparative size of spill, is it ongoing? And oh yeah, what exactly is spilling? Crude? Crude plus nat gas?
2.7 / 5 (3) Jul 05, 2011
Interesting that US oil corp, ConocoPhillips, operates the oil field where the spill occurred but somehow it's the fault of Chinese owned CNOOC?
US hypocrisy at its finest... again!
5 / 5 (2) Jul 05, 2011
It's the fault of CNOOC for not reporting the spill, in fact hiding it from the public, not for causing it. Public anger stems not simply because oil was spilled, but because the company tried to cover it up.
not rated yet Jul 05, 2011
Looks to me like a combination of all three- and, as usual, the circle-finger-point leaves all concerned culpable, but without any clear responsibility.

And, given the laxity of environmental regulation in Chinese territory(as opposed to the Strict accountability practiced here in America...), one has to wonder -how much dispersant might have been used on the "spill" prior to the first appearance of oil on the sea surface?
not rated yet Jul 06, 2011
It's difficult to identify oil spills through all that smog. When the wind blows in from China, I can barely see across the Han River. But, even if the seaweed comes with tar balls, I wouldn't get too worked up over it. The petroleum might help the kids pass all that melamine and cadmium.

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