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Landslide causes closure of oil wells and pipelines in central China

17 July 2013

PetroChina and Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum Group facilities in Yanan City, Shaanxi Province, have been shut by the local government after landslides damaged oil pipelines and polluted drinking water. The companies “must carefully inspect their pipelines, making sure no oil leak will happen again,” Yanan Mayor Liang Hongxian said yesterday, according to local sources.

Both companies’ oil and gas pipelines, oil wells and storage facilities near Wangyao Reservoir in Yanan’s Zhidan county have been shut after crude oil leaked into the water supply, the Yanan government said on its website today. The reservoir provides drinking water for more than 200,000 residents in the city, it said.

Yanan, a major natural gas and crude oil production area for PetroChina’s Changqing oilfield, has seen very heavy rain since July 3, which has killed at least 26 people, injured 118 and caused direct economic losses of 1.57 billion yuan ($256 million), according to local media sources quoted by Bloomberg.

Changqing is PetroChina’s biggest field in China, producing about 50 million metric tons of oil and gas a year. 

In November 2011, China National Petroleum Corp., the parent of PetroChina, was given a disciplinary warning by the central government for an accident the previous year, after an oil spill caused by an explosion polluted more than 183 square kilometers (71 square miles) off the coast

China’s authorities are becoming more responsive to environmental and health concerns, as the new leadership under President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang try to improve the government’s reputation in this area.

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