China National Offshore Oil Corp. announced that it intends to set up an environmental protection fund of its own, months after ConocoPhillips said in September it intended to compensate local Chinese communities and pay for environmental damage following a spill at one of the company's offshore rigs in Northern China.

The Chinese fund, a partnership between CNOOC and CNOOC Ltd., according to CNOOC's website, is designed to prioritize the protection of Bohai Bay's marine environment. In addition, the fund will be used to sponsor added research and technology advancements, and may also be used to fund unspecified public projects.

CNOOC and its subsidiary are state-owned oil companies.

The $79.4 million fund has yet to be approved by China's Ministry of Civil Affairs. ConocoPhillips and CNOOC Ltd. are partners in a Chinese oil field that experienced an oil spill last summer.

Fanrong Li , CNOOC Ltd.'s chief executive officer, said his company has always emphasized on marine and ecological protection.

The oil spill incident has reminded us that safety and environmental protection risk always exists, Li said in a statement. The entire society should care more about the efforts made on the marine environmental protection and ecological restoration, and we would like to make our own dedication.

However, the fund may not be enough to assuage local Chinese communities. In June, ConocoPhillips reported two leaks to local authorities in China. A total of 700 barrels of oil and a further 2,600 barrels of drilling mud were leaked into the Bohai Bay. Earlier this month, more than 100 fishermen filed lawsuits against  ConocoPhillips seeking $78 million in compensation for damaged ocean crops.