Jul. 19 – The fires have been extinguished and cleanup is underway after twin oil pipeline explosions rocked the Chinese city of Dalian over the weekend, creating a substantial oil spill in the city’s Xingang Harbor.
The first explosion occurred late Friday evening as a 300,000-ton tanker was unloading oil at the harbor dock and was immediately followed by a second explosion. The pipeline blasts sparked massive fires that burned for 15 hours, filling the sky with clouds of thick, shadowy smoke as firefighters raced to extinguish the flames.
State-owned China National Petroleum Corp., the owner of both oil pipelines, said in a statement that the oil had stopped leaking from the pipes after a valve was closed and that the oil spill in Xingang Harbor had been “contained.” There has been no word yet as to what exactly caused the explosions, but state media reported that a formal investigation is already underway.
“CNPC will make the utmost effort to prevent and minimize the impact and loss from the accident,” the company said in a statement posted on the CNPC web site.
Although no fatalities were reported, the industrial disaster could have a serious impact on the coastal city’s marine environment. State-media has estimated that as much as 15,000 tons of crude oil has made its way into the ocean as a result of the explosions, effectively covering a 19 square mile area. Oil boons and fencing have already set in place and Xinhua reports that 50 tons of oil have been recovered from the sea so far.