The Penglai 19-3 oilfield, which experienced a severe oil leak in 2011, has been given official permission to resume operations, according to the State Oceanic Administration (SOA).
The SOA said in a Saturday statement that the oilfield, jointly owned by the China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) and the Chinese subsidiary of U.S. oil giant ConocoPhillips, has undergone a series of rectifications and has met conditions to resume normal operations.
“ConocoPhillips has recently received approval regarding its report on the Penglai 19-3 oilfield’s overall development and its effects on the environment,” the SOA statement said.
Severe oil spills in the oilfield have polluted over 6,200 square km of water since June 2011, an area about nine times the size of Singapore, and incurred significant losses for the tourism and aquatic farming industries of Liaoning and Hebei provinces.
The oilfield’s operations were halted by an SOA order in September 2011.
In April 2012, the SOA announced that the two companies would pay a total of 1.68 billion yuan (270 million U.S. dollars) in compensation for the damage caused by the spills, as well as to fund environmental protection efforts in the Bohai Sea.
The SOA urged ConocoPhillips to strictly follow all relevant requirements and adopt strict measures to prevent future spills.
The SOA called on the CNOOC to assist ConocoPhillips in implementing measures in accordance with a development plan for the oilfield to ensure its production.
The SOA vowed to continue monitoring the oilfield, as well as its surrounding waters.