According to the press release dated February 29, 2012, the complaint charges CNOOC and certain of its officers and directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. CNOOC is China’s biggest offshore state oil company. CNOOC co-owns the Penglai 19-3 (“PL 19-3”) oilfield in northern Bohai Bay with ConocoPhillips China Inc. (“ConocoPhillips”) as its operator.
The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants issued materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company’s business and financial results. As a result of defendants’ false statements, CNOOC’s ADSs traded at artificially inflated prices during the Class Period, reaching a high of US$270.64 per ADS on April 4, 2011.
On June 4, 2011, an oil spill occurred at the PL 19-3 oilfield. A second spill occurred at the PL 19-3 oilfield on June 17, 2011. The complaint alleges that CNOOC and ConocoPhillips failed to disclose the spills when they occurred. However, despite CNOOC’s attempts to conceal the news, news of the spills began to leak into the market. On July 5, 2011, the State Oceanic Administration (“SOA”), China’s coastal regulator, officially acknowledged the spills had occurred. Thereafter, CNOOC downplayed the extent of the damage done by the oil spills and the impact it would have on CNOOC’s operations. On September 2, 2011, the SOA announced that it had ordered CNOOC and ConocoPhillips to immediately suspend all oil production at the PL 19-3 oilfield. On September 6, 2011, it was announced that CNOOC and ConocoPhillips would establish a Bohai Bay fund to address the environmental impact of the oil spills. On this news, CNOOC’s ADSs declined US$9.39 per ADS on September 6, 2011. Then, on September 18, 2011, it was announced that CNOOC and ConocoPhillips would establish a second Bohai Bay fund. On this news, CNOOC’s ADSs declined another US$6.85 per ADS on September 19, 2011.
According to the complaint, the true facts, which were known by the defendants but concealed from the investing public during the Class Period, were as follows: (a) the Company was not in compliance with environmental laws and regulations; (b) as news of the oil spills emerged, the Company concealed the extent and severity of the oil spills; (c) as news of the oil spills emerged, the Company downplayed its responsibility to effect the cleanup of the oil spills as it portrayed itself as being the “non-operator” of the oilfield; (d) the Company improperly accounted for its contingent liabilities in violation of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles; and (e) based on the foregoing, defendants lacked a reasonable basis for their positive statements about the Company’s operations and its expected oil production.
On September 24, 2012, the Court issued an Order appointing lead plaintiff and approving the selection of lead counsel. On November 29, the lead plaintiff filed an amended complaint.
On April 3, 2013, Lead Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed its claims, without prejudice, against certain individual defendants.
On May 6, 2013, the Court issued an Order granting Defendant's motion to dismiss with prejudice The Clerk was directed to terminate this case. On May 21, the Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the above Order. This Motion was denied by the Court on May 23. On June 5, Plaintiffs filed a Notice of Appeal of the above orders.