Oil from giant spill reaches Chinese coast: Xinhua

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Oil from a huge spill off the Chinese coast has been found washed up on the shore in two separate areas, state media reported on Wednesday.

A 300-meter "belt" of oil was found on a bathing beach in the port of Jingtang in the northern province of Hebei, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Oil particles measuring between one and three centimeters (0.5 to 1.2 inches) across were also found on a four-kilometer stretch of beach in the northeastern province of Liaoning, Xinhua said.

It has been confirmed that the particles came from the Penglai 19-3 oil field in Bohai Bay, Xinhua said, citing Lin Fangzhong, a State Oceanic Administration official.

The spill from the oilfield, which the US firm ConocoPhillips operates with China's state-run oil giant CNOOC, has polluted a total area of almost 4,250 square kilometers (1,650 square miles), according to government figures released last week.

The incident was kept secret by the authorities for several weeks before being made public this month, sparking suspicions of an official cover-up, and the disaster has triggered a furious public response in China.

Lin said oil was still leaking at the rate of a litre a day but was being recovered within the oil field, Xinhua said.

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