Official: 3rd attempt to cap SW China gas leak succeeds
GOV.cn Thursday, January 4, 2007


Director of the emergency squad and general manager of China Petrochemical Corporation (Sino-Pec Group) Chen Tonghai annouces the start of the third capping attempt in Xuanhan County in southwest China's Sichuan Province on Jan. 3, 2007. Chinese engineers on Wednesday declared the success in the third attempt to cap a gas leak which had lasted two weeks and forced an evacuation of 12,380 people. [Xinhua Photo]


Emergency staffs inspect the scene after a gas leak has been capped in Xuanhan County, southwest China's Sichuan Province on Jan. 3, 2007. [Xinhua Photo]


Director of the emergency squad and general manager of China Petrochemical Corporation (Sino-Pec Group) Chen Tonghai (L) declares an initial success of the capping operation in Xuanhan County in southwest China's Sichuan Province on Jan. 3, 2007. [Xinhua Photo]


A firefighter prepares to deal with the gas leak in Xuanhan County in southwest China's Sichuan Province on Jan. 3, 2007. [Xinhua Photo]


A staff from China Petrochemical Corporation (Sino-Pec Group) works at the gas leak site in Xuanhan County in southwest China's Sichuan Province on Jan. 3, 2007. [Xinhua Photo]

Chinese engineers on Wednesday declared success in the third attempt to cap a gas leak in southwest China, which had lasted two weeks and forced an evacuation of 12,380 people.

Fires that had blazed around the gas well in Xuanhan, a mountainous county in eastern Sichuan Province, were completely put out, according to Chen Tonghai, general manager of China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group), owner of the well.

"Capping operation is an initial success," declared Chen.

The leak occurred on Dec. 21, 2006 at the Qingxi No. 1 Gas Wellin Qingxi Town during drilling. Altogether 12,380 residents nearby were evacuated after the leak.

Two attempts to cap the well were carried out on Dec. 24 and Dec.27 but failed.

To ensure a success of the third capping attempt, more than 30 petrochemical and geological specialists had been invited from other parts of the country to work on a third capping plan.

Wednesday's capping operation began at 10:15 a.m. and all the visible fires were extinguished by 11:40 a.m.

"Capping procedure proved to be quite smooth," said Yu Longhai, an official in charge of publicity with Dazhou City committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

According to Yu, materials including 1,100 cu m of mud and 400cu m of cement were used in the capping efforts.

Most of the displaced have returned home after local environmental protection authorities said no toxic chemicals were detected in the air. Some 984 are yet to return because their houses are within a radius of 500 meters of the well.

No casualties have been reported during the gas leak, according to local officials.

Xuanhan County, about 500 kilometers to the northeast of Chengdu, capital of Sichuan, is one of China's major natural gas bases.

And Qingxi No. 1 Gas Well is a test well that is being sunk by Sinopec Southern Prospecting and Development Branch. In accordance with the original design, the test well will have a depth of 5,620 meters.

Editor: Shanglin Luan
Source: Xinhua