07/30/2011, 00.00
CHINA
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China and the United States cover up oil spill in Bohai Bay

Since June 4 oil has been leaking from a underwater oil field operated by CNOOC of China and the U.S. ConocoPhillips. The news emerges only in July with assurances that everything is resolved. But the oil spill is spreading and is now more than 4 thousand square kilometers.
Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) – Oil has been spilling into the sea for two months from underwater oil field operated by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC, 51%) and American ConocoPhillips (49%). The State Oceanic Administration (SOA) on July 28 said that there are several oil trials covering an area of over 4 thousand square kilometers off the coast of Shandong.

The leak began June 4, but for over a month, the news was not widely reported, although it has affected area estimated at 4,250 square kilometers. The news first appeared on Internet blogs. Only on 5 July, did the SOA accept responsibility and announce that Conoco had been fined 200 thousand Yuan. CNOOC said it had informed the authorities, "from the beginning".

On July 6, Georg Storaker, president of the Chinese subsidiary of ConocoPhillips, announced that the main spill was stopped and that the reclamation of the sea was almost finished.

Instead, in the following days the state news agency Xinhua said it found "dead algae and fish near the island of Nanhuangcheng, about 74 km south of the spill."

The SOA has admitted that the oil spill is now over 4,250 km square, instead of "only" 840 sq km and admitted that the company said that the spill is still ongoing, with a "small steady leakage." Conoco has also had to admit to the spill, although it still insists that it is in "very minimal quantities that are contained and immediately cleaned."

Experts say that oil strip stretches to the coast of Hebei and Laoning and that the damage could be lasting because there is now a high concentration of oil in the stretch of sea, which will have far reaching effects.
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