Offshore oil firms start safety checks

Updated: 2011-09-12 07:33


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BEIJING - Work safety authorities ordered "overall and thorough" checks on all offshore oil exploration and production in China to eliminate risks following the huge oil spill in Bohai Bay in northern China.

The checks, which started on Saturday and last until Dec 10, apply to all oil producers operating in China's sea territories, including three major State-owned oil producers as well as foreign-funded ones, the State Administration of Work Safety said in a circular addressed to oil companies on its website.

The three major State-owned oil producers are China National Petroleum Corporation, China Petrochemical Corporation, and China National Offshore Oil Corporation. Eight foreign-funded and local companies are also on the list, including ConocoPhillips China, Kerr-McGee China Petroleum Ltd, Roc Oil (Bohai) Company, CACT Operators Group, and Husky Oil China Ltd.

The circular urged the companies "to conduct self-examinations" on their offshore fixed and mobile platforms, floating production storage and offloading units, submarine pipelines, and onshore oil terminals and to report the results to the administration before Nov 20.

Officials from the administration, together with experts, will launch inspections from late November focusing on well control during drilling operations, safety management during production, facilities and extreme weather management.

The order came after the State Council on Wednesday called for a thorough investigation into the Bohai Bay oil spill and imposed restrictions on new petrochemical projects and reclamation projects in the bay.

It also called for strengthened monitoring and management of the marine environment as well as safety checks over the country's ocean oilfields to toughen safety measures and eradicate potential risks.

Leaks at two oil platforms in the Penglai 19-3 oilfield in Bohai Bay operated by ConocoPhillips China have polluted at least 5,500 square kilometers of sea in the bay since June 4, when the first oil spill was detected.

ConocoPhillips China is a joint venture between the operator, US-based ConocoPhillips, and the majority stakeholder in the oilfield, State-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation.

The State Oceanic Administration ordered ConocoPhillips China to suspend all drilling and production operations at the Penglai 19-3 oilfield after the company failed to clean up the oil spill and seal off the sources of the leaks by Aug 31.