Apr 09, 2021 03:52 AM

Three Missing After Blowout in China’s Largest Offshore Oil Field

What’s new: Three crew members were missing after a well blowout and fire on an oil rig platform in the Bohai Sea in northeastern China earlier this week that halted operations in China’s largest offshore oil field.

The field is jointly owned by state-controlled giant China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) and U.S. oil giant ConocoPhillips. CNOOC hasn’t made a public statement on the incident. It is not clear whether the fire caused any oil to spill into the ocean.

When the blaze started after the well blowout Monday, 102 crew members were working on the oil rig and 99 were evacuated, Caixin learned from sources.

The fire was still raging late Thursday after various methods were tried to extinguish it, but the blaze was so big that there was little firefighting boats could do, a person close to CNOOC told Caixin.

The background: A major oil spill occurred in 2011 in the Penglai 19-3 field, causing 700 barrels of crude to spill into the ocean and 2,500 barrels of mineral oil and oil-based slurry to sink to the sea floor, polluting more than 5,500 square kilometers of the Bohai Sea.

ConocoPhillips China, the operator of the well, said the spill was caused by a hose malfunction. The State Oceanic Administration ordered the oil field to suspend operations for 17 months. In 2014, ConocoPhillips handed over the operation of the field to CNOOC.

ConocoPhillips China owns a 49% interest in the oil field and CNOOC, 51%.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use. To read the full story in Chinese, click here.

Contact reporter Denise Jia ( and editor Bob Simison (

Support quality journalism in China. Subscribe to Caixin Global starting at $0.99.

Follow the Chinese markets in real time with Caixin Global’s new stock database.

Share this article
Open WeChat and scan the QR code