Sinopec Pipeline Blast May Hurt Reform, Safety Efforts
OREANDA-NEWS. December 10, 2013. An explosion at a China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. oil pipeline and the nation’s deadliest spillage since at least 2005 may threaten the government’s efforts to lure investment to state-controlled industries as President Xi Jinping called for improved industrial safety.
The Nov. 22 accident at the Huangdao district in the eastern city of Qingdao killed at least 52 people, Xinhua News Agency reported. Sinopec, as China Petroleum is known, said yesterday it was still investigating the cause of the blast, which happened after crude oil leaked from a 27-year-old pipeline into Qingdao’s municipal rainwater pipe network.
Xi, who visited relatives of the dead and injured today, vowed to boost work safety and increase inspections, China Central Television reported. China’s drive to build infrastructure serving its growing cities has often come at the cost of 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.
“The Sinopec pipeline explosion will surely see a prolonged investigation and a safety review with the short-term impact for the firm also dependent on how quickly the oil giant cleans up the leak,” said Andrey Kryuchenkov, an analyst at VTB Capital in London. “The ever-growing refining capacity and oil infrastructure in China had certainly seen a rising number of incidents, and safety standards will be reviewed.”