China National Offshore Oil Corporation has said the pressure in the underwater pipeline is significantly decreasing. So far, no casualties or environmental damage have been reported.
Cleaning up the mess - The pressure-releasing torch is working about three miles from the main leak point.
The CNOOC says the pressure has fallen by more than 90% since Monday. Li Yun, staff of CNOOC’s Shenzhen Branch, said, "We have been monitoring the volume of the gas leak, and will report the data to the control center."
Before the leak, more than 100 boats used to pass by the waters each day. Local marine police have sent nine ships to keep other vessels at least five kilometers out of the area.
Wang Shiyun, deputy head of Zhuhai Marine Bureau, said, "We have warned fishing boats not to fish near the leak. Meanwhile, we also ask the CNOOC to monitor the density of the natural gas in the surrounding waters. "
Staff at the control center, are closely monitoring the pressure of the leaking pipeline. They say if the volume has dropped low enough to meet safety standards, they will go to the scene for further inspection, and begin plugging the leak by Friday morning at the latest.
The incident was detected by fishermen on Monday, about 12 kilometers from CNOOC’s Zhuhai Hengqin processing terminal.
The company has suspended two offshore gas platforms, both in the South China Sea. It is still unknown how much gas has leaked, and how far it has spread.
This is CNOOC’s third gas leak this year. The previous two, in June and July, caused huge economic and environmental losses.