BEIJING — China National Petroleum Corp. said Thursday a vital pipeline has resumed operations after an explosion caused the country's largest reported oil spill.
Cleanup efforts — marred by the drowning death of a worker, his body coated in crude — continued over 165 square mile (430 square kilometer) stretch of water blanketed in thick, dark oil Thursday, after an official warned the spill posed a severe threat to sea life and water quality. The slick emptied beaches as its size doubled Wednesday.RELATED:Ethics @ Work: Whose fault is the oil spill?It remained unclear exactly how much oil has escaped the pipeline six days after it exploded for reasons unknown at a busy northeastern port. State media has said no more oil is leaking into the Yellow Sea.China Central Television earlier reported an estimate of 1,500 tons of oil has spilled. That would amount roughly to 400,000 gallons (1,500,000 liters) — as compared with 94 million to 184 million gallons in the BP oil spill off the US coast.Officials, oil company workers and volunteers were turning out by the hundreds to clean blackened beaches, but questions were raised about the effectiveness of the efforts.The cause of the explosion that started the spill was still not clear. Friday's images of 100-foot-high (30-meter-high) flames at China's second largest port for crude oil imports drew the immediate attention of President Hu Jintao and other top leaders.