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China Unveils First Oil Spill Response Plan

China’s cabinet has approved the country’s first oil spill emergency response scheme to be ready by 2020, to tackle increasing risks from offshore leakages, the government said on Monday.

The new regulation – which sets oil clean-up capacity at 1,000 tonnes (7,300 barrels) within 50 nautical miles from shore – came amid a tightening of the country’s environmental rules after several oil spills in recent years.

China will be capable of cleaning up 10,000 tonnes of oil discharged in those waters that are prone to high risks and less than 50 nautical miles from the coast, according to a statement on the Chinese government’s main web portal.

In addition, coastal cities should be equipped to clean up and recycle 10,000 tonnes of spilled oil, the cabinet said.

By 2020, China will have 191 offshore facilities, 260 emergency boats and 52 onshore facilities as well as trained personnel that can handle emergencies, the cabinet added.

Previously, China had no nationwide oil spill response scheme, according to the cabinet, leaving companies and local governments to set up their own procedures.

ConocoPhillips and CNOOC Ltd have been embroiled in a series of legal claims following oil spills in 2011 in the Bohai Bay that polluted more than 6,200 square kilometers of water.

In 2000, a pipeline blast in the northeastern port of Dalian leaked 1,500 tonnes of heavy crude oil into the sea, and took nearly 8,000 workers and hundreds of fishing boats to clean up.

By Meng Meng and Chen Aizhu with editing by Dale Hudson. Feb. 1, 2016 on Reuters.

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