Chinese court accepts oil spill-related compensation claims

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, December 30, 2011
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A maritime court in the northern coastal city of Tianjin on Friday accepted a case of compensation claims from aquaculture farmers who believe the oil leaked from the ConocoPhillips-operated oil field platforms in Bohai Sea resulted in their businesses losses.

The Tianjin Maritime Court took up the lawsuit filed by a group of 29 aqua-farmers against ConocoPhillips China and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).

The Penglai 19-3 oil field, where the leak had first been reported in June from platforms B and C, is being operated by ConocoPhillips China, a subsidiary of the U.S. energy giant ConocoPhillips under a development agreement with CNOOC, the oil field's owner.

The court Friday also said there was another lawsuit regarding compensation claims against ConocoPhillips China lodged Thursday by a group of 107 aqua-farmers, over which the court is conducting a routine check over the plaintiffs' identities before accepting the case.

The 107 aqua-farmers renewed their lawsuit after a previous lawsuit filed on Dec. 13 failed to be taken up by the court. The court had asked them to modify documents and produce more evidence in accordance with laws.

The court gave no details on the amount of compensation being sought by the aqua-farmers in both lawsuits.

In their previous lawsuit, the 107 aqua-farmers said the oil spill killed many of their clams and sea cucumbers, and they were seeking 490 million yuan (around 77.78 million U.S. dollars) in damages.

ConocoPhillips, who is responsible for the oil spill, last week promised to issue compensation for damage caused by the oil spill but offered no details.

The oil spill has polluted over 6,200 square km of water in the bay since June, an area about nine times the size of Singapore, according to an investigation unveiled in November.

The State Oceanic Administration said last month that operations in the Penglai 19-3 oil field were in violation of the region's development plan, and there were shortcomings in ConocoPhillips China's management system.

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