* State television says 35 killed, 166 injured
* Operations halted at major oil port
* Crude oil flows into China may be disrupted
(Adds Sinopec suspends oil purchases)
By Chen Aizhu
BEIJING, Nov 22 An explosion in a Sinopec Corp
oil pipeline killed 35 people in Qingdao in eastern
China on Friday, causing a blaze that took several hours to
bring under control and halting operations at a major oil port,
media and ship brokers said.
Qingdao is one of China's largest crude oil import
terminals, supplying at least two major Sinopec refineries - the
Qingdao plant and Sinopec Qilu Petrochemical Corp - as well as
many small, independent refineries.
A Chinese trader said the explosion would disrupt crude
flows into China as the blast involved a major pipeline
supplying several refineries. European traders said crude and
oil product purchases had been suspended.
The explosion in the underground pipeline caused a huge hole
to appear in the roadway above and state television showed a
truck that had fallen into it, with a residential apartment
block in the background.
President Xi Jinping called on local authorities to "spare
no effort to rescue the injured and strengthen safety to
eradicate such incidents," state news agency Xinhua said.
The Huangdao oil terminal in Qingdao had stopped operations,
ship brokers and a port official said.
The local government said on its microblog the blast
occurred at 10:30 a.m. (0230 GMT) as workers were trying to
repair leaks in the pipeline. It said oil had spilled into the
port, which had also caught fire.
However, a port official said: "The port was not affected by
the pipeline blast, but tankers were told to sail away from the
port as a safety precaution."
Sinopec confirmed on its microblog that the explosion was
caused by a leak in the Huangwei crude oil pipeline. It said the
fire was put out at 1 p.m.
State television CCTV, which gave the figure of 35 dead,
said 166 people were injured.
"Early investigations showed the spilled oil flowed into the
municipal grid, which caused the explosion," the local
government said, giving no further details about the grid.
It said the oil spill had spread across 3,000 square metres
of sea water.
Two pipelines at state oil giant PetroChina's
storage site in Dalian exploded in 2010, causing a big oil spill
and disrupting crude supply and oil product exports at its
refineries for weeks.
A witness in the city said there was a power cut in the area
lasting for about two hours after the blast.
The China International Marine Containers (CIMC) factory
located nearby closed for a period to rehouse about 500 workers
whose dormitories had been damaged.
"Ambulances were still operating after 1 p.m. Glass windows
in our dormitories were broken. It's terrifying," said worker
Sinopec officials could not immediately be reached for
comment and it was unclear if there was any impact on the
240,000-barrel-per-day Sinopec Qingdao refinery, which receives
imported crude oil cargoes from Huangdao port.
The affected crude oil pipeline connects Huangdao to the
city of Weifang in the same province, Shandong.
(Additional reporting by Li Hui and Sui-Lee Wee and Beijing
newsroom; Florence Tan and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen in Singapore;
and Grace Li; editing by Michael Urquhart, Alan Raybould, Ron
Popeski and James Jukwey)