ConocoPhillips replaces China boss

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, June 8, 2012
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ConocoPhillips China President Georg Storaker has left China in the aftermath of the Penglai 19-3 oil spill incident, and his successor Jim Taylor will continue to improve the organization's crisis management systems, National Business Daily reported.

Spilled oil was seen on the surface of the water near the affected area in North China's Bohai Bay, on August 22, 2011. [Xinhua file photo] 

The newspaper quoted sources saying that ConocoPhillips China made a low-profile official announcement regarding the change of the top job. Jim Taylor was actually appointed as the new president in May.

Jim Taylor said in his inauguration speech that ConocoPhillips has been and will still be solving the big problems related to Bohai Sea oil spill incident.

However, he never expected to be plagued by another crisis so soon: another spill happened on June 3, 2012 at the oil field where a major spill occurred last year.

ConocoPhillips China confirmed 0.6 tons of crude oil was spilled on June 3, 2012 at the Penglai 19-3 field. ConocoPhillips China and China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) own the oilfield. CNOOC holds a 51 percent stake in the oil field.

Ma Jun, Director of China's Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, said he hopes ConocoPhillips China could learn from this lesson, and take environmental responsibility.

"Georg Storaker has been moved back to the United States to direct other department," sources said, "Jim Taylor was transferred to China from the Indonesia president post."

But sources denied Storaker's leave has anything to do with oil spill, but is due to the new global operation and new personnel appointment. On May 1, ConocoPhillips created a downstream company named Phillips 66. ConocoPhillips repositioned its integrated assets and businesses into two independent, publicly traded companies as of May 1, 2012. The Phillips 66 Company has leading businesses in refining, marketing, midstream and chemicals.

Jim Taylor is trying hard to learn more about ConocoPhillips' business in China, ConocoPhillips China's sources said. In last year's incident, Georg Storake was criticized by the Chinese public and government departments for his ineffective approaches, obscuring the truth and delaying action during the spill's early stages.

Ma Jun said as the crisis evolved, ConocoPhillips China changed its attitude and paid for damages. However, the image of the company has been seriously hit. He expected the new boss to make some moves to improve the enterprise's public image.

The new oil leak on June 3 may shadow their plan to resume production within this year. But ConocoPhillips China immediately reported to CNOOC, the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) and other Chinese government departments on June 4. "This indicates that there are still loopholes in ConocoPhillips China's management," Ma said.

After the oil spill incident last year, the SOA demanded that ConocoPhillips apologize for the spills, compensate for damage and warned the company that it planned to sue. Farmers and fisherman in Hebei Province hired lawyers as they sought compensation for spill-related losses, including damage to scallop beds. On April 30, 2012, CNOOC and ConocoPhillips China paid compensation of 1.68 billion yuan.

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