Investigation under way into Chinese plant explosion

A joint team of local government agencies is investigating an explosion that occurred on June 9 at Sinopec Yangzi Petrochemical Co. Ltd.’s refining and petrochemical complex in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China.

The incident occurred when a fire broke out at the refinery’s sulfur-recovery unit, igniting three chemical storage tanks, and another of crude oil, which led to an explosion, according to a recent release from the city of Nanjing’s Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB).

While the fire resulted in the release of hydrogen sulfide into the air, environmental examination showed the level of toxic gas in the area remains within national standards, said Qian Feng, deputy head EPB.

A joint team comprising staff members from the city of Nanjing’s firefighting department, work safety supervision office, and Public Security Bureau has been established to investigate the cause of the accident, EPB said.

Sinopec Yangzi Petrochemical, a wholly owned subsidiary of China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec), has not disclosed details regarding the current status of operations at the complex, which has processing capacities of 9 million tonnes/year and 650,000 tpy, respectively, for crude oil and ethylene, according to Sinopec’s web site.

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