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China-Kazakhstan Pipeline Unthreatened by Oil Explosion
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An oil tank explosion that killed 12 people on Saturday in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region will not affect normal operation of the China-Kazakhstan Pipeline, a workplace safety supervision official said on Sunday.


Sheng Shaokun, deputy head of the regional safety production supervision administration, ruled out the possibility of a second explosion in the tank being built in Dushanzi, a district of Karamay City, about 260 kilometers from Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang.


He added that no environmental pollution would result from the blast since the tank contained no oil.


The explosion happened at around 7:20 PM Friday when 24 workers were carrying out antiseptic treatment on the tank, belonging to Dushanzi Petrochemical Company, a branch of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). The 100,000-cubic-meter tank is designed to store crude oil piped into China via the China-Kazakhstan Pipeline.


The scale of the pipeline is immense, its transnational section measuring 962.2 kilometers, joining a 246 km domestic section, making a total length of over 1,200 kilometers.


The pipeline, which can carry 10 million tons of crude oil per year, starts at Atasu in western Kazakhstan. It enters China at the Alataw Pass on the Sino-Kazakhstani border before reaching its destination at PetroChina Dushanzi Petrochemical Company.


The Sino-Kazakhstan pipeline was jointly built by China National Petroleum Corporation, China's largest oil producer and PetroChina's parent company, and construction companies from Kazakhstan. The pipeline went into full commercial operation on July 29 this year.


Initial investigations show that Saturday's blast might have been caused by the volatility of organic substances in the oil paint used for the tank's antiseptic treatment, said Sheng.


Apart from the 12 people killed, 12 others were injured, but six of them have been discharged from hospital, Sheng said. An investigation into the causes of the accident is still underway.


(Xinhua News Agency October 30, 2006)

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