Published on Friday, July 15, 2011 by Agence France Presse
China Oil Spill Six Times Size of Singapore: Govt
by Frederic J. Brown (excerpted)
A huge oil spill off the Chinese coast has now contaminated an area around six times the size of Singapore, state media reported Friday, as the government said it may seek compensation for the leak.
The spill from the oil field, which the United States' ConocoPhillips operates with China's state-run oil giant CNOOC, has polluted a total area of almost 4,250 square kilometres (1,650 square miles), government figures showed.
The figures, which were announced on the State Oceanic Administration website earlier this week but only reported on Friday, were almost five times the size of the 840-square-kilometre area previously reported.
The administration says that area remains worst affected by the spill, but that another 3,400 square kilometres have also been contaminated to a lesser degree by the oil.
The spill was kept secret by the authorities for several weeks before being made public this month, sparking suspicions of an official cover-up, and the disaster has triggered a furious public response in China.
State media said the government was considering seeking compensation from ConocoPhillips over the spill.
"We have made an initial plan to claim compensation from ConocoPhillips China," the business daily 21st Century Business Herald quoted an unnamed official from the State Oceanic Administration as saying.
"But whether and how it will be implemented still depends on the status of plugging the leak."
CNOOC said last week the spill was "basically under control" while ConocoPhillips told reporters the leaks had been plugged....
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