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China punishes 63 for oil pipeline blast
January 11, 2014, 5:18 am

48 officials received punishments while judicial authorities will probe 15 others of suspected crimes, the statement said [Getty Images]

48 officials received punishments while judicial authorities will probe 15 others of suspected crimes, the statement said [Getty Images]

The Chinese Cabinet on Friday punished 63 people including the mayor of the city and the Chairman of Sinopec over a fatal oil pipeline explosion that claimed 62 lives in November.

48 officials received punishments while judicial authorities will probe 15 others of suspected crimes, the statement said.

Fu Chengyu, board chairman of Sinopec, China’s second-biggest oil producer, received a ‘demerit administrative sanction’, and Qingdao mayor Zhang Xinqi received a ‘warning administrative sanction’, said the statement.

Six officials with Sinopec and the city administration of Qingdao were removed from their posts.

In its response, Sinopec said it will overhaul safety hazards in its pipeline network and remember the “lesson of blood.”

The blast, which killed 62 and injured 136, caused economic losses of $124 million to the Chinese firm.

Corrosion that wore down the pipeline was responsible for the break.

Work on a sewage cover plate on the day of the accident involved use of a hydraulic hammer that wasn’t explosion-proof, which produced the sparks that triggered the blasts, a spokesman from China’s top work safety watchdog said on Thursday.

Following the deadly blast, Chinese President Xi Jinping had ordered a large-scale production safety check.

“This accident once again sounded an alarm for us that production safety must be ensured without loosening hold. Otherwise, it will bring irredeemable loss for the country and the people,” Xi said.

In a cautionary report, global banking giant HSBC said energy companies in the country are set to pay much higher safety costs for their operating systems in the future.

The report said China had a total of 90,123 km of oil and gas pipelines by the end of 2012 with Sinopec and PetroChina holding a majority of these pipeline assets.

 

Source: Agencies

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