In an explosion at a chemical plant in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province yesterday three people were killed and two seriously injured, a press release from the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) stated.
A gas tank at the No.2 refining plant of the Daqing Refining & Chemical Company in Daqing, an oil city 160 km west of the provincial capital of Harbin, exploded at 6:16 PM.
The explosion also caused a fire that was extinguished at 8:11 PM. The water polluted in the explosion was restricted to the company's water treatment facilities and there was no air pollution at the site, the press release said.
Witnesses said the explosion could be heard from "far away" and the plant was enveloped in smoke. Rescuers recovered the bodies of the three victims including two drivers and a migrant rural worker, said the Daqing company's general manager Li Zhengguang.
CNPC has sent specialists to the site to investigate the cause of the explosion. Zeng Yukang, deputy general manager of CNPC and local officials have gone to the plant, the press release said.
To eliminate a national oil shortage China mobilized 40,000 workers and technicians and pooled 70,000 tons of equipment from 30 factories and mines to start up Daqing Oil Field in 1960. Three years later, with an annual oil output of 60 million tons, Daqing successfully made China self-sufficient in oil.
Over the decades more than 40 percent of the country's total oil output of 1.87 billion tons was produced from Daqing, the largest oil production base in China.
(Xinhua News Agency August 15, 2006)