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May 26, 2017

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Kaohsiung pipe maintenance underway: Duh

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- An underground pipeline maintenance project started yesterday in Kaohsiung City, incoming Economics Minister Duh Tyzz-jiun (杜紫軍) said yesterday at the Cabinet, adding that the government will complete the maintenance inspection of the city's underground pipes in three months.

In the wake of the deadly gas explosions in Kaohsiung, Duh said the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) had a meeting with the Kaohsiung City Government and the petrochemical companies recently. Duh said all the petrochemical companies in Kaohsiung had sent their underground pipeline information to the city government in response to the MOEA's demands.

Duh went on to say that apart from the oil pipes and natural gas pipes, there are a total of 45 petrochemical pipes installed underneath downtown Kaohsiung. Among the 45 pipes, the state-owned oil company CPC Corp. owns 28 of them and private companies have 17 pipelines, Duh said.

Duh said the government has demanded that local petrochemical companies carry out the proposed underground pipeline maintenance project, noting that relevant government agencies and Kaohsiung City Government dispatch personnel to the petrochemical factories inspecting and checking the pipes. The inspection will begin with CPC's underground pipes, he added.

Noting that the government will check carefully to see if the pipelines are in good condition, Duh said if the pipes are in bad shape then the companies must replace the pipelines.

When asked if the government has identified any other potential danger zones in Kaohsiung, Dun said Kaohsiung City will do comparisons of its underground culvert location map and the underground petrochemical pipe map to identify potential danger zones.

The government, on the other hand, will first carry out the petrochemical pipe maintenance in Kaohsiung and then inspect the city's underground pipes, Duh said.

Future Petrochemical Development in Kaohsiung

Duh said as far as he knows, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) told Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) that after the flooding situation in Kaohsiung ameliorates she will discuss the port city's future petrochemical development with the premier.

Safety is the first priority, Duh said, adding that his ministry will discuss the possibility of reducing the number of petrochemical pipes that run underneath the city in the future with Kaohsiung. Duh said decreasing the number of pipelines means that the petrochemical companies stationed in northern Kaohsiung may have to relocate their factories, adding that the MOEA needs to discuss and reach a consensus with the Kaohsiung City Government.

Reveal Fundraising Cash Flow

Cabinet spokesman Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群) told a press conference that aid donations after the Kaohsiung blasts have hit NT$3 billion since the tragedy occurred, noting that every fallen victim of the blasts will receive at least NT$8 million from the Kaohsiung City Government.

The premier requested that Kaohsiung reveal the cash flow of its donations to the public on a regular basis, noting that the government should offer the public complete transparency regarding where the funds are flowing, Sun said.

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