Oil spills in the N. China Sea

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, August 2, 2011


Editor's Notes:

Three oil spill accidents were reported in north China's Bohai Sea in less than two month from June 2011, and US company ConocoPhillips should be held accountable for two of the incidents. Coastal pollution is back in the public eye.

 Shangdong Penglai oil spill  

Time: June 17, 2011

Location: Penglai 19-3 oilfield, platforms C, Shandong Province

Operator: US firm ConocoPhilips

This is the second oil spill in the Penglai 19-3 oilfield in north China's Bohai Bay, two weeks after the first leaking. The oceanic administration said Conoco should be held accountable for the incident because it's the operator of the field.

By the end of July, the affected areas of the spills have expanded to the three provinces surrounding Bohai Bay: Liaoning, Hebei and Shandong. [More]

 Liaoning Suizhong oil spill
Suizhong 36-1 oilfield

• Time: July 12, 2011

Location: Suizhong 36-1 oilfield's central platform, Liaoning Province

Operator: CNOOC

Due to an equipment malfunction in the central control system, a small oil leak was seen in the Suizhong 36-1 oilfield in northern China's Liaoning Province on July 12, 2011. It marked the third spill in two months in Bohai Bay, resulting in about one square kilometre of oil sheen. CNOOC Ltd temporarily shut the oilfield right after the leak and reopened it a few days after the cleanup completed. [More]

 Shangdong Penglai oil spill  
The oil spill from the Penglai 19-3 oilfield polluted an area of more than 840 square kilometers in Bohai Bay.

• Time: June 4, 2011

• Location: Penglai 19-3 oilfield, platforms B and C, Shandong Province

• Operator: US firm ConocoPhilips

The leak from platforms B and C of the Penglai 19-3 oilfield in the Bohai Bay, which started on June 4 and June 17 respectively, polluted 840 square kilometres of water.

China's maritime authorities have urged ConocoPhillips China to clean up the oil-polluted seabed in Northeast China's Bohai Bay by Sunday.

Environmental impact of leaking oil 

Oil spills often result in both immediate and long-term environmental damage. Some of the environmental damage caused by an oil spill can last for decades after the spill occurs.

How Does an Oil Spill Affect The Environment?thumbnail

Damage to coastal ecosystems

Oil spilled by damaged tankers, pipelines or offshore oil rigs coats everything it touches and becomes an unwelcome but long-term part of every ecosystem it enters. 

Damage to fisheries

Oil spills present the potential for enormous harm to deep ocean and coastal fishing and fisheries. The immediate effects of toxic and smothering oil waste may be mass mortality and contamination of fish and other food species, but long-term ecological effects may be worse.

Damage to marine life and wildlife

The effects are far reaching. Marine and coastal life can be contaminated in a number of ways, through poison by ingestion, destruction of habitat and direct contact with oil. Most birds affected by an oil spill would die unless there is human intervention. Some studies have suggested that, even after cleaning, less than 1% of oil soaked birds survive.

Destroy wildlife habitat and breeding grounds

The long-term damage to various species, and to the habitat and nesting or breeding grounds those species depend upon for their survival, is one of the most far-reaching environmental effects caused by oil spills. 

How to clean up oil spill 


When an oil spill occurs, the oil forms a millimeter-thick slick that floats on the water. No two oil spills are the same because of the variation in oil types, locations, and weather conditions involved. However, broadly speaking, there are four main methods of response. [more]



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