China's State Oceanic Administration is reportedly planning to sue ConocoPhillips, the third-largest U.S. oil company, regarding two leaks from two of the U.S. company's platforms in China's Bohai Bay that started in June. Over 3,200 barrels are believed to have leaked, more than double the first estimate of 1,500 provided by ConocoPhillips.
Texas-based ConocoPhillips (COP) has come under fire from Chinese regulators for what they view as a lack of transparency from the U.S. oil giant about the leaks and what regulators have called slow response times. China has demanded that ConocoPhillips have the leaks cleaned up by the end of this month.
A Chinese press report said the oil spills had spread to beaches in the provinces of Hebei and Liaoning and were being blamed for a slowdown in local tourism and for economic damage to aquatic farming industries, according to the New York Times.
The State Oceanic Administration is believed to be aiming to have a legal team set up by the end of August with the intent of seeking monetary compensation from ConocoPhillips. Cnooc (CEO), China's largest offshore oil producer and the country's third-largest oil company overall, is Conoco's partner on the project.