China National Petroleum Corporation's (CNPC) refinery plant in Dalian, Liaoning Province, caught fire on Saturday after a valve started leaking (the reason for which is still under investigation.)
The blaze, which began at 2pm and was fully extinguished five hours later, did not result in any casualties, and preliminary tests of the nearby waters show no signs of pollution. Exactly one year earlier, there was a much larger explosion at the plant, which leaked over 1,500 tons of oil into the sea.
The fire comes after a string of incidents over the last month, including another explosion at Daya Bay refinery, and the CNOOC Penglai spill, which have raised concerns over safety standards in Chinese oil firms. A state press report has stated that the incidents may not be “unexpected” as “loopholes in the firms' safety and production management” make it possible to cut corners. The report has called for these loopholes to be “seriously examined” in the wake of recent events.
Meanwhile in Omsk, Russia, a fire and explosion destroyed a furnace at Gazprom Neft's refinery. The explosion was apparently caused by a build-up of burning oil in a coil pipe inside the furnace and completely destroyed the furnace along with a 36m high brick chimney. Firefighters quickly extinguished the remaing fire and overall plant production was unaffected. There were no reports of injuries.
Published 25th July, 2011
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