Fire Breaks Out at China Refinery

A fire broke out at a Dalian PetroChina oil refinery but was reportedly put out after a few hours. From Voice of America:

China’s state news agency says a fire broke out at an oil refinery in the northeastern coastal city of Dalian Saturday.

It was the second fire at the Dalian refinery since July. Authorities said the flames were extinguished after about six hours without any injuries.

The official Xinhua news agency said the blaze was triggered by a leak in a distillation device at state-run PetroChina’s largest refinery Saturday afternoon. PetroChina told Xinhua that the fire had not polluted the air or sea.

A report from the Telegraph highlights that this is just one of many oil-related accidents that have plagued Dalian over the past few years. From the Telegraph:

The fire at the PetroChina refinery, the company’s largest with a total crude refining capacity of 410,000 barrels a day, comes barely a month after another fire in the same facility that took firefighters six hours to bring under control on July 16.

“My parents live in Ganjing district, I asked them and they said they saw dense smoke billowing, they could see it from their home,” said online user ‘Star Crazy’, “The fire engines and police cars were going by continuously, there were pungent smells in the air.” Others openly raised questions about the safety culture at the plant. “Is Dalian the city with highest danger index in China?,” asked ‘Easy Uncle’, while others said that human error, not bad luck was behind the spate of accidents.

And in October last year PetroChina workers caused another blaze as they were dismantling an oil tank that still had fuel left inside it, Bloomberg news reported at the time.

The latest fire also comes barely a year after an explosion at a PetroChina oil storage depot in Dalian’s Xingang port on July 16 2010 caused China’s worst ever oil spill, sending 1,500 metric tons of into the Yellow Sea, forcing the port to close the blaze was brought under control.

PetroChina later said the latest fire, which broke out at 10am in its No. 875 diesel tank, had been brought under control by 1.20pm local time, without causing any pollution or injuries to workers or firefighters.

However the fires is the latest in a litany of disasters and near-misses that have seriously dented public confidence in Dalian’s petrochemical complexes which is one of northwestern Liaoning Province’s main drivers of economic growth.

Pictures and descriptions of Monday’s fire soon sprang up online, with censors moving to delete some of the photographs as online users posted angry comments about the risks posed by Dalian’s petrochemical industries.

Sources:

Fire Breaks Out at China Refinery - Voice of America

Fire at Dalian Oil Refinery Raises Tensions in China - The Telegraph

August 29, 2011 11:50 AM
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Categories: Economy, Society