BEIJING, Nov 22 (Reuters) - An explosion in a Sinopec Corp oil pipeline killed 35 people in Qingdao in eastern China on Friday, causing a blaze that took several hours to bring under control and halting operations at a major oil port, media and ship brokers said.
Qingdao is one of China's largest crude oil import terminals, supplying at least two major Sinopec refineries - the Qingdao plant and Sinopec Qilu Petrochemical Corp - as well as many small, independent refineries.
A Chinese trader said the explosion would disrupt crude flows into China as the blast involved a major pipeline supplying several refineries. European traders said crude and oil product purchases had been suspended.
The explosion in the underground pipeline caused a huge hole to appear in the roadway above and state television showed a truck that had fallen into it, with a residential apartment block in the background.
President Xi Jinping called on local authorities to "spare no effort to rescue the injured and strengthen safety to eradicate such incidents," state news agency Xinhua said.
The Huangdao oil terminal in Qingdao had stopped operations, ship brokers and a port official said.
The local government said on its microblog the blast occurred at 10:30 a.m. (0230 GMT) as workers were trying to repair leaks in the pipeline. It said oil had spilled into the port, which had also caught fire.
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