China’s oil pipeline blast toll rises to 47

    By IANS,

    Beijing : The death toll from an oil pipeline explosion in Qingdao city in China’s Shandong province has climbed to 47, authorities said Saturday.

    The blast occurred at 10.30 a.m. Friday at the crossing between Haihe and Zhaitangdao road in Huangdao district after oil leaked from a Sinopec pipeline into the municipal pipe network, Xinhua quoted an initial investigation as saying.

    At least 136 people were hospitalized and rescue work is still going on, according to rescue headquarters.

    The district government has ruled out a terror attack as the cause.

    The 176-km pipeline, which links oil depots in Huangdao to Weifang city, home to a few petrochemical plants, is owned by Sinopec, China’s largest oil refiner.

    The pipeline, with a total investment of 1.3 billion yuan ($211.8 million), became operational this August. It has an annual transportation capacity of 15 million tonnes.

    Meanwhile, Sinopec’s board chairman Fu Chengyu apologised Saturday over the accident.

    According to a statement posted on the company’s official microblog, Fu said he feels greatly grieved to see the huge losses of life and property and expressed deep condolences to the victims.

    Fu apologised to people of Qingdao and people of the entire nation as well.

    He said Sinopec will conduct rescue work and cooperate with the investigation team dispatched by the State Council to find out the cause of the accident.