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Cnooc Group Says Oil Spill in China’s Bohai Bay Regrettable

China National Offshore Oil Corp., the country’s largest offshore oil producer, said the spill at Penglai 19-3 field in Bohai Bay is regrettable and that it’s sorry for not preventing the accident.

The state-controlled oil company will assist and supervise ConocoPhillips, the operator of the field, in cleaning up the leak, Beijing-based China National Offshore said in a statement on its website.

The Chinese government ordered ConocoPhillips and China National Offshore, which jointly own the field, to halt production at two platforms at Penglai 19-3 in northeastern China last month, following two leaks in June. The spill, which polluted an area of at least 840 square kilometers (324 square miles), may exceed an initial estimate of 1,500 barrels of oil and oil-based drilling fluids, the official Xinhua News Agency said on Aug. 3, citing the Houston-based company.

China’s State Oceanic Administration this week told ConocoPhillips to apologize to the public for not cleaning up the spill more quickly and urged the U.S. oil producer to plug the source of the leaks and eliminate the risk of further spills by the end of this month. Two phone calls to the media department of ConocoPhillips’s China unit seeking comment weren’t answered.

ConocoPhillips has recovered 1,695 barrels of oil-based mud and deployed about 900 personnel and more than 30 vessels during the cleanup, the company’s China unit said in a statement on its website yesterday.

The U.S. oil producer operates the Penglai 19-3, 19-9 and 25-6 fields, which together gave it 56,000 barrels of oil a day in 2010, data on the company’s website show. China National Offshore’s has a 51 percent stake in Penglai 19-3 through Cnooc Ltd., according to the Hong Kong-listed unit.

Halting production at the two platforms will cut ConocoPhillips’ share of the output by about 17,000 barrels of oil a day net after royalties, the company said. Cnooc’s daily share of production from the platforms was 22,000 barrels, according to the Chinese company.

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