ConocoPhillips Finds Nine New Leaks in China Oil Spill

Discovery comes after company said more than 2,100 barrels of oil and oil-based mud leaked from platforms.

U.S. oil giant ConocoPhillips, already facing legal action and mounting public anger over a huge oil spill off China's northeast coast, has found nine new leaks in the same area, authorities said.

The State Oceanic Administration on Aug. 20 said ConocoPhillips reported the leakages near a platform in Bohai Bay jointly owned by the American company and China's CNOOC. Further details were not provided.

ConocoPhillips has said more than 2,100 barrels of oil and oil-based mud -- a substance used as a lubricant in undersea drilling -- have leaked from two platforms, reportedly polluting beaches and killing marine life in the area.

The SOA -- which supervises and manages China's seas -- last week said it planned to sue ConocoPhillips over the spill, which was first detected in early June.

A Chinese lawyer also is suing CNOOC and ConocoPhillips over the leaks, state media said last week.

The SOA has asked the company to carry out a thorough investigation of the cause of the latest oil leaks to prevent similar cases, according to a brief statement.

AFP calls to the Chinese subsidiary of ConocoPhillips on Aug. 20 went unanswered.

Fishermen in the Shandong, Hebei and Liaoning provinces that border Bohai Bay, east of Beijing, allege that oil from the leaks has killed a large part of their harvest of such seafood as scallops.

Environmental groups also have called on ConocoPhillips for speedier and more transparent cleanup efforts.

Both ConocoPhillips and CNOOC have apologized for the spill, and the company last week said it hoped to clean up the oil by the end of August.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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