Taiwan state oil company fined for Penghu oil leak cover-up

Local CPC managers hid the leakage of 63 cubic meters of gasoline from their superiors

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State oil refiner CPC fined for Penghu leak and cover-up.

State oil refiner CPC fined for Penghu leak and cover-up. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - State oil company CPC Corp., Taiwan (中油) was fined NT$6.5 million (US$211,800) for covering up a leak at a plant in Penghu and for polluting underground water reserves, reports said Thursday.

In the incident, which occurred last year, an estimated 63 cubic meters of gasoline leaked from an oil tank and polluted about 0.8 hectares of land in Penghu County, the archipelago in the middle of the Taiwan Strait.

Officials at the CPC plant failed to report the problem to their superiors because they thought they could fix the issue on their own, the Central News Agency reported, but eventually a CPC regional office found out and the media uncovered the issue on July 17.

After complaints by residents, the Penghu County Government took tests and discovered that oil levels outside the tank were 3.3 times higher than the legal maximum.

The pollution merited a fine of NT$500,000, while the cover-up led to the NT$6 million fine, CNA reported.

The county ordered an investigation into the scale of the pollution to be expanded to include nearby residential areas and water sources, while CPC would be asked to shoulder the cost of any repairs and compensation.

The county also said it would not rely solely on information supplied by the state oil refiner, but consult independent experts to determine the scale of the disaster and the necessary corrective measures, CNA reported.