China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (ADR) Officials Jailed Over 2013 Pipeline Blast
China court sent 14 officials to jail today over pipeline explosion that happened two years ago in Qingdao and killed 63 people. According to the Chinese media, eight Sinopec (NYSE:SNP) officials and six Qingdao government officials have been jailed for up to five years.
The massive pipeline explosion injured 156 people and caused losses up to $117.53 million (751.7 million yuan).
China’s official Xinhua news agency said that officials of China’s biggest state owned firm Sinopec Corp. were sentenced to prison for violating safety regulations, while the six local government officials failed to perform their duties effectively. The pipeline explosion was one of the biggest to hit the housing district, raising serious questions over rapid urbanization that has brought residential and industrial projects nearer in the country. This has raised concerns regarding safety standards prevailing in the world’s second largest economy.
Earlier this year, a massive explosion took place at port warehouses located in the northeastern city of Tianjin, killing more than 160 people. After the incident, the Chinese court blamed 11 municipal officials for abuse of power and negligence and sentenced them to prison.
Furthermore, Xinhua stated that 10 of the culprits decided not to appeal against sentences, while four are seeking appeal. The work-safety regulators have accused Sinopec and local government officials for the explosion in Qingdao, which resulted from an oil leakage after corrosion in the underground pipeline network. In addition, the regulator cited that inappropriate equipment usage for repairing and poor monitoring by the officers resulted in a disaster.
The explosion highlights potential risks to residents as China’s pipeline networks continue to expand, bringing closer residential and industrial areas. The government needs to take into consideration all these factors so that such tragic events do not happen in future. Sinopec, known as China Petroleum and Chemical Corp., also filed an official apology and accepted officials’ act of negligence. Many municipals and company officials also lost their jobs after they were found guilty by the investigation committee.
The Government is determined to bring a change in the system, where each and every official will be accountable for the respective actions. President Xi Jinping’s anti-graft campaign has also helped in reducing corruption and abuse of power in the country. Keeping this aside, the country needs to establish a distance between residential and industrial projects.