ConocoPhillips messes up 'crisis management'

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[By Zhou Tao/Shanghai Daily]

So-called "crisis management" skills that ConocoPhillips China has used after recent oil spills in north China's Bohai Sea do not help the company, and it may unintentionally harm itself by resorting to such tactics, according to an article in the People's Daily.

"China's maritime authority stopped ConocoPhillips China's oil field operations after ongoing delays, negligence, cover-ups and cheating (by the company)," said the article published on Monday in the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China.

ConocoPhillips China (COPC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Houston-headquartered oil giant ConocoPhillips, has complied with a suspension order, said a statement on the company's website.

The suspension order issued by the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) came last Friday after COPC failed to meet the SOA's order to find potential oil spill sources and seal existing oil leaks before August 31.

As the operator of the leaking Penglai 19-3 oil field in the Bohai Bay, COPC has been blamed for oil leaks on June 4 and June 17 that resulted in about 700 barrels of oil escaping into the bay and 2,500 barrels of mineral oil-based drilling mud flowing onto the seabed.

'Cleaned up'

On August 31 the company submitted a report to the SOA claiming that all the oil spills had been cleaned up.

Public condemnation of COPC's poor handling of the crisis strengthened after a China Central Television (CCTV) report revealed on Friday that, during a conversation between a CCTV reporter and an anonymous COPC employee, someone told the reporter via the ship's intercom system that the company intentionally set out to deceive Chinese authorities when it announced that it had met the SOA's requirements.

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