CPC Corp. makes progress on oil spill in Taiwan's Penghu

Oil spill contained, water quality improving near CPC depot

CPC Chairman Tai Chien, second left, inspecting cleanup efforts on Oct. 17

CPC Chairman Tai Chien, second left, inspecting cleanup efforts on Oct. 17 (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan's state-run oil refiner CPC Corp. (台灣中油) said they are making improvements to an area tainted by an oil leak at its depot in Penghu last year.

The contamination area has been isolated, and groundwater quality is improving, according to CPC.

In June 2017, 63 cubic meters of gasoline polluted around 0.8 hectares of land near to the Huxi Oil Depot. The leak was not reported to headquarters, in part due to the small scale of the spill, with senior management only becoming aware of the issue after a series of local media reports during July 2018.

Media reports suggest the oil spill was due to numerous violations of policy, and CPC staff on Penghu believed they could fix the issue themselves.

The incident drew public criticism from government officials, and amid public concern, CPC disciplined those involved in the incident, and began a formal clean-up.

CPC said in a press release that the incident site has been tended to for five months, and an investigation is ongoing to fully understand the extent of the damage, and the steps required to fix it.

CPC added they are working with local authorities, and trying to meet the needs of the local community.

CPC said their tests reveal no oil leaks in the depot’s tanks and pipelines, and a containment system for the spilt oil has been completed.

According to tests, one out of 64 groundwater wells did not meet drinking water standards in Dec., a decrease from seven in Sept. CPC suggests that this shows their pollution efforts are working.

CPC were fined NT$6 million (US$194,400) for failing to disclose the leak to authorities as required under the Pollution Control Act, and were also instructed to pay NT$1.8 million in compensation to local farmers.