Deja Vu: Pipeline Explosion Causes Oil Spill in China

Chinese officials have doubled their initial estimate of an oil spill caused by the explosion of a pipeline last Friday in the city of Dalian on the Yellow Sea. The slick covers 165 miles of water, a fraction of the 2,700 square mile visible Gulf of Mexico slick, and is estimated at 1,500 tons of fuel, or less than half of one percent of the recent BP Gulf spill. Nevertheless, several nearby beaches and resorts have been closed, and the Guardian reports that fishing in the waters around Dalian has been banned until the end of August. One firefighter was killed during cleanup efforts, and another made a very lucky escape from the oncoming sludge.

In an echo of the BP statements early on in the Gulf spill, a Chinese official said on July 19, “We may be able to clean up the sea within roughly five days by allocating all possible resources.” Other officials are less optimistic, and so far the true extent of the damage to water and wildlife is uncertain.
“The oil spill will pose a severe threat to marine animals, and water quality, and the sea birds,” Huang Yong, deputy bureau chief for the city’s Maritime Safety Administration, told Dragon TV.

So far, at least 460 tons of oil have been scooped up, Xinhua news agency reported. Hundreds of volunteers, many very poorly equipped, are cleaning oil along the shoreline. In addition to skimmer boats working at sea, the oil is being treated with over 23 tons of petroleum-eating bacteria. While eating the oil may seem like a great solution, such bioremediation efforts in the past have had mixed results, and may upset ecosystems in the long term.

While this may be China’s worst oil spill to date, it is far from the only incident. An explosion in 2005 released 100 tons of toxic benzene into a river in northeastern China, tainting the water supply for the city of Harbin. Last December 40,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled from a China National Petroleum Corp. pipeline in northwestern Shaanxi province, some two-thirds of which flowed into  local rivers.  Time magazine quoted the China co-director of the NGO Pacific Environment: “It’s very tragic. It’s more evidence that the oil companies are not prepared for such an ecological crisis.” Sound familiar?

Photo: Dramatic rescue of man from recent China oil spill. photo:  Greenpeace China

139 comments

Serena M.
Serena M.5 years ago

It's due to our complacency, compliance and selfishness that the gross PTB have been allowed to act with outrageous behaviours of gross mismanagement of everything we have entrusted to their abilities to follow our best interests. As they profit from these atrocities, they invest in huge and ludicrous smoke screens such as 'climate change/global warming/zero carbon' unscientific, illogical trash projected on the image of the ordinary multitude of sentient and caring human beings. And guess what, a high proportion of that multitude buy heavily into that delusion.

John Tambeau
John Tambeau5 years ago

It's the human being messing around with mother earth and mother earth just is getting her revenge. It appears that oil spills are happening all over the planet now.

Man just does not get it anything for money no matter what the cost. It is gross and horrible.

Raynor A.
Raynor A.5 years ago

wow! Mankind has been destroying this beautiful world that God has created for decades!!!! When is going to stop?

ChanTlalok Rain C.

Hopefully China will seriously begin construction projects in alternative energy in a mass scale.

Lyn V.
Lyn V.6 years ago

What a shame. Its just a matter of time, so where next

Mervi R.
Mervi R.6 years ago

So horrible, will we ever learn...?

Moertl M.
Martha M.6 years ago

Stupîd beasts on two legs all over the world.

Cyn G.
C. G.6 years ago

OI VEY GEVELTU! Not again!

Jo B.
josie batlles6 years ago

Us humans just never seem to truly learn...Yet one more disaster... :( Thank you very much for sharing. Interesting article. x

Tekla Drakfrende
Tekla Drakfrende6 years ago

oh no....