Gas Leak Incident Spurs CNOOC Field Shutdowns
The largest offshore energy explorer in China, CNOOC, reported on Tuesday that one of their subsea pipelines in the South China Sea is leaking gas. The Chinese oil and gas firm was forced to halt production at two platforms following the leak at the Zhuhai terminal located near Hong Kong.
The leak was detected by fisherman nearby who spotted water shooting out from the sea due to pressure being caused by the underwater gas leak. Gao Guangsheng, vice president of a CNOOC branch, told China Daily that the leak might be caused by external factors, and that they will repair the pipeline to resume operations at the terminal as soon as possible, as to not induce gas shortages in Guangdong.
In a statement released from the CNOOC, the company said, “Currently the terminal is under accelerated depressurization process. This incident neither caused any injuries nor environmental pollution, and the situation is under control.”
After the leak is contained, CNOOC contends that their next step will be to the plug the leak affecting the the Panyu 30-1 and the Huizhou 21-1 gas fields in the South China Sea.
As a result of the leak, the Zhuhai Maritime Safety Administration issued evacuation notices to nearby boats, and CNOOC stands to lose 26,700 boe per day in midst of the production shutdown.
This is only the latest in the a string of accidents that plagued CNOOC throughout 2011. The company lost about 40,000 barrels of crude oil per day following a June spill at their Peng Lai field, and spilled around 3,000 barrels of oil in two other spills.
Oil analysts in Hong Kong fear that this latest gas leak tarnishes CNOOC's reputation, and that it will likely reinforce concerns from investors around the company's operational delivery.