Taiwan: Explosion at CPC Taoyuan refinery sparks criticism on company's failure to relocate plant from populated area

Author: Kuo Chia-erh, Taiwan Times, Published on: 29 January 2018

An early morning fire at CPC Corp, Taiwan’s (CPC, 台灣中油) refinery in Taoyuan’s Gueishan District (龜山) took about an hour to bring under control, but no one was injured…An explosion in a reheating furnace tube in a diesel hydrotreating unit…sparked the fire…

The explosion also sparked severe criticism from Taoyuan officials and environmental activists because of the company’s failure to relocate the plant. Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) said in a Facebook post that it is improper to have a refinery in such a densely populated area, as 760,000 people live in the three districts nearest the plant. The Ministry of Economic Affairs in 2003 pledged to move the plant within 10 years and the promise seems to have been broken, Cheng said, urging CPC to implement the long-stalled relocation plan.

CPC is still assessing possible locations for the refinery, CPC chairman Tai Chein (戴謙) told reporters…To ensure abundant oil supplies in the domestic market, CPC said it seek the new location for the Taoyuan refinery first, instead of “recklessly” demolishing it…Yesterday’s fire was not CPC’s first incident this year. Five people were injured in a Jan. 18 explosion at CPC’s nitrogen gas supply center in Miaoli.

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