Oil spill response along the coast of China has been recognized as an important issue by the Chinese government. The Bohai Sea in particular, is an area of high oil exploration and production activity, with offshore developments comprising platforms and FPSO's (floating, production, storage and off-loading) together with associated vessels and pipelines. Major shipping lanes from the East China Sea into China also pass through the offshore oil fields. For the oil companies operating in the area, the prospect of an accidental oil spill is a concern from both a domestic and international perspective.

In 2000, the companies involved in upstream activities in the Bohai Sea began discussions with the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) to develop an oil spill response capability. Led by ConocoPhillips, the international oil companies worked with CNOOC to build a framework for developing an oil spill response organization (OSRO) to provide appropriate services within the Bohai Sea. The key tenet for this OSRO, was to be able to perform to international standards.

In 2002, the CNOOC executive management, through its subsidiary, Bohai Corporation(COOBC) committed to establishing a commercial oil spill response organization, Bohai Environmental Services Ltd. (BES). The BES remit is focused on the Bohai Sea, but with the eventual goal of providing response services along the wider China coastal region and eventually fulfilling a longer term vision of expanding into the international market.

This Paper describes the standards required by the international oil companies and how BES was conceived and organized to meet them.

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Author notes

1 DISCLAIMER: The opinions and views expressed in this paper are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of any other party.