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Fire burns PetroChina boss

(Global Times)

09:41, September 01, 2011

The general manager of PetroChina in Dalian, Liaoning Province, was removed from his post a day after a fire at an oil storage facility Monday.

The fire was put out with no casualties, but is the fourth of its kind at PetroChina's Dalian operation in a year.

Jiang Jiemin, president of China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), the country's leading onshore oil producer, said at a conference in Dalian on Tuesday that a series of accidents recently within the same facility exposed issues with security, quality of work and the attitude of staff.

The CNPC said Leng Shengjun, general manager of the Daqing Refining and Chemical Company, Heilongjiang Province, will replace Jiang Fan as the general manager of PetroChina in Dalian.

An accident investigation team including management experts from the company will also be established to cooperate with the investigation work of local authorities.

Monday's accident is the second this year after a fire was triggered by a leak from a distillation device on July 16.

The company said no environmental damage was caused, but some experts expressed their skepticism, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

After a crude oil pipeline exploded at a CNPC's terminal in Dalian's Xinggang harbor on July 16, 2010, more than 1,500 tons of oil flowed into the ocean, causing major pollution to more than 430 square kilometers.

About three months later, another fire broke out at the same site. Officials said it was caused by leftover oil in a tank that had been emptied in preparation to be moved.

Sparks caused when cutting through the tank's metal casing could have ignited the fire on Sunday, said Xinhua.

Zhou Xiujie, an analyst with the China Investment Consulting Corp, said considering the time the accidents happened, high temperatures could have been a factor.

"But the main reason is likely human operation," said Zhou.

According to media reports, the results of the official investigation into the July 16 fire disaster were not available until now and even though five staff members involved in the operation were detained, no one from management was held responsible.

"Things happening at the same company time and again prove these are not accidents,"said Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University.

A complete investigation and accountability by some people is needed to comfort the public," said Lin.


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