China shuts down oil port after spill
Beijing, July 19, 2010
China has closed the Dalian Xingang oil port in its northeast, home to the country's largest oil reserve bases, after crude pipeline explosions spilt oil into the sea, but the main facilities there are undamaged.
State oil major PetroChina, which operates two major refineries in Dalian, has set up a contingency plan to cope with one week's closure of the main oil port that receives foreign crude vessels regularly and also a main export point for gasoline and diesel.
PetroChina has started trimming refinery operations at one of the plants, the 200,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) West Pacific PetroChemical Corp (WEPEC), by about 'several thousand tonnes' per day.
'The port was sealed right after the explosion. We have a one-week contingency plan, but are hoping that the oil spill can be cleaned up as soon as possibly,' the oil executive told Reuters on Monday.
Dalian Port said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange that the accident had not caused any direct damage to the oil terminal's main facilities, the impact being limited to ancillary facilities such as control systems.
'The magnitude of the damages and losses caused by the accident and its impact on the operations of the Group and Dalian Petro China Warehousing remain to be further assessed,' it said.
Maritime safety authorities are also battling to contain a 50 sq km oil slick after two crude oil pipelines exploded in the northeastern port of Dalian, state media added.
The oil executive said contamination on about 10 sq km of sea area was 'quite serious.'