Conoco May Have To Pay For China Spill

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ConocoPhillips, the third-largest U.S. oil company, may face monetary damages related to a pair of oil spills off the coast of China's Shandong province that are now believed to be worse than previously thought. China's State Oceanic Administration (SOA) said that it may seek compensation from the U.S. oil giant.

Texas-based ConocoPhillips (COP) holds a 49% stake in the project while Cnooc (CEO), China's largest offshore driller and third-largest oil company, owns a majority stake.

SOA said on Tuesday that two separate spills on June 4 and 17 contaminated an 840-square-kilometer area of the Bohai Sea, more than four times the original 200 square-km Cnooc said was affected, according to Time. Critics have alleged the SOA along with Cnooc and ConocoPhillips have withheld information regarding the severity of the spill.

For its part, ConocoPhillips said it was quick to respond to the spills and notify authorities. The company added that cleanup efforts are nearly complete. The cause of the leaks is currently under investigation, the U.S. company said. Chinese news reports have cited complaints of dead fish, though they said it was unclear whether the deaths were due to oil, according to the Associated Press.