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More dangerous to transport propene by tanker than pipeline: CPDC

TAIPEI -- A petrochemical company said Monday that it would be more dangerous to transport propene, a petrochemical raw material, via tankers rather than underground pipes, in response to calls from residents in the southern city of Kaohsiung after last week's deadly explosions that are believed to have been caused by a propene pipeline leak.

Some residents in Kaohsiung have called for the pipelines to be removed from the city following the fatal blasts that began July 31.

China Petrochemical Development Corp. (CPDC), which has been working to remove propene remaining in a pipeline leading to its plant in Kaohsiung's Dashe District, said it would be more pragmatic to implement stricter regulations and management of the existing petrochemical pipelines rather than changing to road transport to move propene.

The July 31 blasts were triggered by a leak of between four and 10 tons of propene that caused serious damage to roads and hundreds of casualties, it said.

Each tanker can carry 18-20 tons of propene, which would cause even more serious damage in the event of an accident, it added.

It would involve higher risks if each petrochemical firm in Kaohsiung began using tankers to transport the material, the company said.

Stricter management and checks to monitor the pipelines are the most feasible options, it added.

The explosions occurred between 11 p.m. and midnight July 31 in Kaohsiung's Cianjhen and Lingya districts, killing at least 28 people, injuring 305 and leaving two missing, according to official statistics as of Monday morning.

The disaster is believed to have been caused by a leak in an underground propene pipeline used by LCY Chemical Corp.

An investigation into the blasts is ongoing.

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