Here is a report from AFP, which pretty much covers the story of the latest fire at PetroChina’s Dalian refinery. As more information comes in, we will post it here.
A major fire broke out Monday at a refinery in northeast China owned by state-owned oil giant PetroChina, the official Xinhua news agency reported, in the latest disaster to hit the country’s oil industry.
It took nearly 300 firefighters several hours to put out the blaze, which broke out when an oil storage facility caught light at at around 10:00 am (0200 GMT), Xinhua said, adding that no casualties had been reported.
The fire was the second to hit the refinery in the coastal city of Dalian in as many months and follows a series of other disasters involving China’s rapidly expanding oil industry, which has come under scrutiny over its safety standards.
In July 2010, two pipelines exploded at a PetroChina oil storage depot in Dalian, also triggering a devastating spill.
The government estimated about 1,500 tonnes of oil poured into the Yellow Sea after the fire, but environmental watchdog Greenpeace said up to 60 times that amount may have escaped.
And in January this year, more than 30 people were injured when an explosion ripped through a PetroChina oil refinery in neighbouring Fushun city.
A spokesman for the company who declined to be named confirmed that Monday’s blaze was at the same refinery that was hit by a fire in July, but refused to provide any more details.
The world’s second-largest economy is also grappling with a huge spill from oil platforms jointly owned by state-owned CNOOC and US oil giant ConocoPhillips that have polluted large parts of Bohai Bay off the east coast.
Dalian, a major Chinese port and transport hub, sits at the confluence of Bohai Bay and the Yellow Sea about 460 kilometres (290 miles) east of Beijing.
According to state press reports, the Dalian refinery, PetroChina?s largest, has three crude distillation units with total crude processing capacity of 410,000 barrels per day.
Telephone calls to the Dalian plant and to local authorities went unanswered.