ConocoPhillips completes shutdown after Bohai Bay oil spill

ConocoPhillips China has completed a temporary shutdown of oil and natural gas production at Penglai 19-3 field in Bohai Bay as ordered by China’s State Oceanic Administration (SOA) while ConocoPhillips and its partner, China National Offshore Oil Corp., develop and submit a compliance plan to SOA.

As operator, ConocoPhillips China responded to two spills on June 4 and June 17 that released an estimated 700 bbl of oil into Bohai Bay and 2,500 bbl of mineral oil-based drilling mud onto the seabed.

SOA ordered ConocoPhillips on Sept. 2 to suspend water injection, drilling, and production across the field (OGJ Online, Sept. 6, 2011).

CNOOC Ltd. noted operations of Platforms B and C of PL19-3 already were suspended on July 13 as required by the SOA. Peng Lai 19-3 field had operated at reduced rates since June.

In a Sept. 4 news release, CNOOC said a joint investigation team (JIT) reporting to SOA determined that the spills involved liabilities to ConocoPhillips China, which the JIT said “did not fulfill its duties as a reasonable and prudent operator.”

ConocoPhillips China said, as of late Sept. 4, it stopped operations stopped at 181 producing wells and 54 injecting wells.

“We conducted the shut down in a safe and timely manner, and in a way that preserves field integrity,” ConocoPhillips said in a Sept. 6 news release. No seeps or sheens have been observed at Platform B. Weather conditions temporarily interrupted diving activities at Platform C.

Divers continue to search for and clean any residual mineral-oil based mud (MOBM) from the seabed. As of Sept. 6, a total of 409 cu m of MOBM had been removed.

One “small sheen” from near Platform C was cleaned up Sept. 5, the company said, adding that oil droplets occasionally rise to the surface as a result of the MOBM being moved on the seabed during cleanup operations. Any oil found at the surface is contained and cleaned up.

Remotely operated underwater vehicles are scanning the seabed and taking samples, ConocoPhillips said.

“We are also doing a wider program of seabed sampling in the area to validate the effectiveness of the clean up,” the company said. “This program covers over 30 different sampling points around Platform C.”

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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