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Court starts hearing lawsuit over U.S. ConocoPhillips oil leakage case
   2016-12-09 15:06:09    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Xu Yaqi

The file photo shows an oil drilling platform of the U.S.energy firm ConocoPhillips. [Photo: szhk.com]

The maritime court of Tianjin in China on Friday started hearing a case lodged by five local fishermen against two oil companies from the U.S and China for an oil spill in June 2011.

The ConocoPhillips and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation conducted cooperation in exploiting the Penglai 19-3 oilfield in north China's Bohai Bay, where oil was spilled,polluting a sea area of about 62 million square kilometers.

The plaintiffs asked the two oil companies to compensate them 200,000 yuan, or about 29,000 US dollars, for their financial losses plus the cost of litigation. They also demand a clean-up of Bohai's ecological environment.

According to a joint report by China's Ministry of Land and Resources, Ministry of Environment Protection, and Ministry of Agriculture, ConocoPhillips was the operator at the field when the oil was leaked, so all responsibilities should be claimed by the U.S. developer.

ConocoPhillips said in its statement of defense that the company signed a compensation agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture in January 2012, and had already paid one billion yuan for damages to the fish breeding industry and fishing resources in the surrounded areas.

The agreement requires the Ministry to coordinate the allocation of indemnity to fishermen in the neighboring Hebei and Liaoning provinces.

However, fishermen from Shandong Province and Tianjin City, which are also located in the coastal area of Bohai, have not been covered by the compensation, including the five accusers in the current case.

Wang Haijun is the attorney agent for the five Tianjin fishermen. He took the position back in 2013, when the plaintiffs brought their case against the oil companies for the first time.

It is reported that at that time there were 107 fishermen altogether from Tianjin and another 310 from Shandong filing this lawsuit that asked for a 1 billion yuan compensation.

However, the court didn't accept that case.

In 2015, the fishermen lodged litigation once again, and the accusation was accepted in the same year. This time, the number of complainants decreased to only these five fishermen as most others couldn't afford the court costs.

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