Sinopec to Spend Billions to Handle Oil Pipeline Safety Problems


BEIJING, Nov 17 (Reuters) – China's Sinopec Group has pledged to spend $4.6 billion over three years to address safety concerns related to its oil pipelines, after authorities asked for two of the firm's pipelines to be temporarily shut down following inspections.

The State Administration of Work Safety ordered the company, parent of Asia's top refiner - Sinopec Corp, to shut the 179-km Linyi-Cangzhou pipeline and a 40-km pipeline from the Tanggu oil depot to Dagang in Tianjin by Nov. 20 after unannounced inspections found numerous problems including "stress corrosion and fatigue damage".

Sinopec Group, however, said the two pipelines have been closed for a while, adding that this had not hurt refinery throughput in northern China as two alternate lines had been deployed to supply oil to the relevant subsidiary refineries in Cangzhou, Shijiazhuang and Tianjin.

The group plans to spend 28.1 billion yuan ($4.59 billion) over three years to handle pipeline safety problems, it said in a statement over the weekend. The company has already spent 4 billion yuan, it said.

Last December, China launched a safety probe in the oil and gas sector after a pipeline blast killed 62 people, with checks on some 3,000 petrochemical firms and oil storage sites finding nearly 20,000 potential hazards.

Sinopec Group's Linyi-Cangzhou pipeline passes through populated urban neighbourhoods, while the Tianjin pipeline is mostly near water. The firm has until Dec. 10 to address safety issues with these pipeline, the authorities have said. (1 US dollar = 6.1234 Chinese yuan) 

(Reporting by Adam Rose and Chen Aizhu, additional Reporting by Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Joseph Radford and Himani Sarkar)


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