China oil spill in northern waters
China's biggest offshore oil producer, CNOOC, has been hit by another oil spill in north Chinese waters, state media reported on Saturday, following a June spill at a field jointly run with ConocoPhillips that sparked an official uproar.
The latest spill broke out near the Jingzhou 9-3 field operated by a subsidiary of CNOOC in the Liaodong Bay off northeast China, Xinhua news agency reported.
Maritime administrators announced an emergency and have sent a ship to the area after a belt of oil floated to the surface near a platform on the field on Friday. A construction ship struck an underground pipeline, the report said.
It did not describe the scale of the spill and said the maritime administration ship was still investigating.
Liaodong Bay is part of the bigger Bohai Bay, where CNOOC and its U.S. partner ConocoPhillips have been struggling with a spill in June that triggered government demands for tougher regulation of offshore oil operations.
The leak from the Conoco-operated Penglai 19-3 oilfield released less oil in three months than BP's Gulf of Mexico spewed out in a single day, but the response from Beijing was vehement.
Last month, authorities ordered the shutdown of the 168,000 barrels-per-day field, in which state-run CNOOC owns 51 percent.
CNOOC cut its output target, though the production loss is seen as having only a minor impact on supplies to the world's No.5 crude producer.
Photo of Jingzhou 9-3 credit: CNOOC