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Sinopec workers detained after fatal pipeline blast

11.26.2013  | 

The personnel from Sinopec, and two from an economic development zone in China’s eastern Qingdao city were detained by police, the city’s Huangdao district government said on its official microblog.

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By BENJAMIN HAAS & AIBING GUO
Bloomberg

BEIJING -- Chinese authorities detained seven people from China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, or Sinopec, after at least 55 died in a pipeline blast.

The personnel from Sinopec, and two from an economic development zone in China’s eastern Qingdao city were detained by police, the city’s Huangdao district government said on its official microblog.

The explosion and crude oil leak on November 22, the deadliest since at least 2005, adds to a growing toll from industrial accidents that’s building pressure for better safety standards and management. It shines a spotlight on management of state-owned energy companies after the government pledged this month to allow more private investment as part of the biggest reforms since the 1990s.

“Someone has to be accountable for what has happened,” said Laban Yu, an analyst at Jefferies Group. “Sinopec executives can only escape with minor punishment if investigation concludes that local government was at least equally responsible for the accident.”

Three calls to the office line and mobile phone of Lv Dapeng, Sinopec’s spokesman, weren’t answered. A text message sent to Lv’s mobile phone requesting comment wasn’t immediately replied to. Brunswick Group, which consults on public relations for Sinopec, could not immediately comment.

Detained officials

A woman who answered the phone at the personnel department of Qingdao Economic and Technological Development Zone, who declined to give her name or title, said she had no further information on the two detained officials.

Last week’s blast in a section of pipe running under city streets in Qingdao exposed severe problems of human error and a “very serious dereliction of duty,” the official Xinhua News Agency reported, citing Yang Dongliang, head of the team investigating the accident. President Xi Jinping said the probe should be fast-tracked and responsibility established, China Central Television reported November 24.

The 249 km pipeline began leaking oil at about 3 a.m. and emergency crews were dispatched to conduct repairs when the fire started in Qingdao’s development zone, according to a Xinhua report on November 22. Xinhua also reported the death toll. Some of those killed were Sinopec employees working to fix the leak, the company said on its website.

Flying sidewalk

The incident led to stoppages in electricity and water in nearby areas, with about 18,000 people evacuated, the Qingdao government said. Cleaning and fishing vessels and dispersant were being used to clean up the oil leak, which spread across 3,000 sq m in Jiaozhou Bay and the Yellow Sea, the Qingdao Municipal People’s Government Information Office said on its microblog on November 22.

In Qingdao the explosion sent chunks of sidewalk flying, crushing the roofs of trucks and public buses, tearing down branches of trees and felling power poles.

A local police post was destroyed and rescue workers scrambled to secure combustible materials while residents queued for food as household gas supplies for cooking were disrupted.

It’s the latest fatal industrial accidents as China seeks to improve workplace safety. More than 27,700 people were killed or went missing at workplaces in the first half of this year, according to the State Administration of Work Safety. In June, a fire at a poultry plant in the northeastern province of Jilin killed 120 people in the nation’s deadliest blaze in 13 years. Authorities detained executives from the poultry plant after the fire, according to Xinhua.



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Vishvesh
12.01.2013

Almost 28,000 persons killed or missing in just six months...this could be a world record in itself! Safety standards should never be compromised in ambitious pursuit for growth by any country.

MIRZA SIDDIQ BAIG
11.29.2013

I agree with Youyu ,, China does have quite elaborate safety and accident prevention codes and standards , but the unfortunate thing is that they are not being followed strictly . Its sorry state of affairs and companies must look into it immediately.

Youyu
11.28.2013

China has lots strict standras and codes but they are not fully followed by many companies. It is really sad.

K.S.B.Murukesh
11.28.2013

RCA should be published, if it is Sabotage/ System failure/ man made human faiulure , please publish
The spillage should be recovered from the rain water storm lines Recycled , Remediation activities should be started.

K.S.B.Murukesh
11.28.2013

Ensure stringent HSE passport for all the Oil & Gas workers in China.
Estreem safety parameters should be adopted

W Pan
11.27.2013

You've got to have a few people to blame, otherwise who is going to take the hit, the government? The government is never in the wrong, esp. the PRC.

aluasgar
11.27.2013

It's my own view
May be this pipeline explosion is because of corrosuon in thevpipelibe so company should assign some company to do survey of all the pipelines and vessels where oil storage had dobe may corrosion monitoring had not done properly or not evaluated seriously or due to carelessness in saving mobey for maintenance befire accident

Bilal Ahmed
11.27.2013

The incidents like the above are results of serious negligence as part of a system not by the individuals. I think China needs to develop strict compliance standards to ensure safety of workers and installations.

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