You’d think that after the Dalian oil spill last year, the government would be better prepared to deal with an oil spill. Nope! They’re even copying American techniques on avoiding responsibility.
The most recent spill took place at the Penglai 19-3 oilfield in Bohai bay. The leak started June 4th and Xinhua says it was brought under control by June 21st. People reported it on Weibo back when it happened, but the China National Offshore Oil Corporation that operates the field acknowledged it last Friday – the CPC’s 90th anniversary when nobody would be paying attention.
The spill has polluted 840 square km of sea, causing “a certain level” of damage to the surrounding environment, according to the State Oceanic Administration. They didn’t comment on how much oil had been released into the ocean.
The field is being mined by ConocoPhillips China, which is a subsidiary of ConocoPhillips and CNOOC, the nation’s largest offshore oil company. Yesterday, the SOA blamed ConocoPhillips – the American partner in the joint venture – for the spill.
The SOA is seeking compensation from ConocoPhillips for environmental damage to Bohai, although other stories have pointed out that CNOOC has a history of covering up leaks.
Though there’s a history of official bureaus covering up everything in China, the press should take a substantial share of the blame for not highlighting this disaster sooner. If this sort of negligence keeps up, weibo’s will be our most trusted news source in no time.
By Robert O’Connor