Friday, October 30, 2015

ConocoPhillips ordered to pay 1.7m yuan over damages in oil spill |Companies |

ConocoPhillips ordered to pay 1.7m yuan over damages in oil spill |<!-- ab 22327704 -->Companies<!-- ae 22327704 --> |

BEIJING - (Xinhua) A court in North China's Tianjin municipality ordered American oil giant ConocoPhillips (China) to pay 1.68 million yuan ($265,000) to 21 fishermen on Friday, who claimed their fishing interests and livelihood were severely damaged by the 2011 Bohai Bay oil spill.

The verdict temporarily ends nearly four years of haggling between the fishermen and ConocoPhillips, who, along with Chinese State-owned oil giant China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC), were held responsible for the contamination of more than 6,200 square km of water in the Bohai Bay after a large spill in the area's oilfields.

The Tianjin Maritime Court exempted CNOOC's liability to compensate the fishermen, saying CNOOC was not the operator of the oilfield and did not control the source of the spill.

In 2012, Chinese authorities reached a settlement with the two companies granting affected fishermen 1 billion yuan in total. The State Oceanic Administration also levied a 1.68 billion yuan penalty for the damage caused to the maritime eco-system.

Most of the fishermen accepted the compensation. The 21 fishermen in the most recent case did not join the settlement process and filed their litigation on Dec 30, 2011. Last December, the court conducted a two-day hearing of the case but did not deliver a verdict. ConocoPhillips did not say whether they will appeal the most recent verdict.

This is not the only litigation the American oil giant is facing.

A landmark lawsuit was filed against the two companies in a maritime court in Qingdao in July. Details of the case have yet to be released, but it is the first case brought by a social organization over maritime pollution since China changed its law to allow registered non-profit organizations who have been dealing with environmental issues for at least five years to sue heavy polluters.

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