A natural gas pipeline operated by the state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. exploded in the southwestern Guizhou province on Sunday night.
At least 24 people were “seriously injured,” Xinhua reported Monday, citing local government authorities. Eight people are reportedly in critical condition and 16 in serious condition. No deaths were reported.
The explosion occurred around 11:20 p.m. local time in the Shazi district of Qianxinan County.
The pipeline was shut down and the fire was put out by 2:30 a.m. on Monday. An investigation into the gas leak is underway and authorities are still searching for any more casualties.
The pipeline transports natural gas from Myanmar’s Kyaukpyu port to southwest China, Reuters reported.
A similar explosion happened on a nearby section of the pipeline in Shazi district in July 2017. That blast, which was caused by heavy rains and a landslide, took eight lives and injured 35, Xinhua reported then.
The latest blast comes amid the Chinese government’s efforts to boost natural gas to combat the country’s notorious air pollution. Natural gas is considered “clean” because it emits 50 percent less carbon dioxide than burning coal. But the primary ingredient of natural gas is methane, a greenhouse gas about four times more powerful at trapping heat than CO2.
Chinese regulators are planning to merge the oil and gas pipeline assets owned by three state energy giants—China National Petroleum Corp., China Petrochemical Corp. and China National Offshore Oil Corp.—under one national pipeline network, Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
— Yicai Global 第一财经 (@yicaichina) July 4, 2017