Kaohsiung City Govt knew about presence of LCY pipeline
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-08-07 02:35 PM
On Wednesday China Petroleum Corporation (CPC) released the minutes of a meeting that show that the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Authority knew as early as October last year that a pipeline belonging to LCY Chemical Corporation was buried about 1.5 meters underground. The information was included in data gathered in connection with plans for a light rail transit project in the city.

MRT director Chen Tsun-yung said he does not have any recollection of what was discussed in a meeting two years ago. He said it may have included information on the situation of area pipelines at the time. As for lines belonging to LCY, he could only say that "it has been too long" and "I am not certain." He said that at the time the Light Rail transit Authority was primarily focused on matters related to its own project.

An official at CPC said Wednesday that the petroleum company had invited several other companies to participate in the meeting, including a number of officials from LCY. The official said minutes of the meeting clearly indicated that LCY revealed the fact that it had a propylene pipeline buried at a depth of about 1.5 meters. He added that the Kaohsiung City Government’s claim after Thursday’s explosions that there was no information on the propylene line in its digital data is “inconsistent with the facts.”

CPC said that one of the results of the meeting was a resolution that any agency which planned to do excavation or construction work in the area would be certain to notify the relevant pipeline owners to send someone to the scene to monitor the work and assist as needed.

An Internet user revealed in a chatroom conversation that there was an incident with a leak from a CPC pipeline at the corner of San-duo Road and Zhong-zheng First Road on July 9 during construction on a light rail project. At that time the Kaohsiung Fire Department closed the intersection to traffic and issued an alert that was maintained until CPC was able to find the source of the leak and seal it .

Other users quoted a press release from the Kaohsiung Fire Department regarding the July 9 accident which noted that pipelines in the area were being used for product transmission by CPC’s Cian-jhen Storage and Transportation Facility, LCY Chemical and China Petroleum Development Corporation (CPDC). The Fire Department press release explained that its personnel handled the July 9 emergency quickly and even "notified operators of the three lines to stop transmission.“ This shows that the Fire Department was aware of at least three petrochemical pipelines in the San-duo Road area, which raises the question of why they did not take similar action on July 31.

A spokesperson for the Municipal Fire Department explains that every disaster site is different and conditions and solutions to problems cannot be easily generalized or compared. He notes that in the July 9 incident it was clear that benzene was leaked, and CPC was quickly contacted to handle it. On July 31, however, local residents told the Fire Department that there was a gas leak in the area, but officials of the gas company denied that there were any problems with its line. It was not until after eleven p.m. that propylene was detected in the area, and shortly afterward the first of the explosions occurred.

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