An eastern Chinese pipeline operated by Sinopec Corp. exploded Friday, killing at least 35 people and injuring 166 more, Reuters reported.
In what may turn out to be one of the worst industrial incidents this year, oil leaked from a ruptured pipeline at the Huangdao oil terminal in the port of Qingdao. Oil has leaked into the sea and, because of the fire that raged for hours, all operations at the port have been stopped.
Sinopec, China's largest refiner, only managed to shut off the pipeline flow 15 minutes after the rupture, thus allowing oil to spill directly onto the streets and into the sea. There were two subsequent explosions that occurred while workers were cleaning up the spill. The blasts caused severe damage to the port and killed dozens, the local government said. However, a port official told Reuters that the port was not affected by the explosions and operations had been halted as a safety precaution.
The local government did not provide many details about the accident but said that 3,000 square meters of sea water had been contaminated.
According to Reuters, Qingdao is a major crude oil import terminal that enables crude to reach two of Sinopec's refineries and a number of smaller independent facilities. Crude flow to China might be affected by the incident, a local trader told the news source.