Friday, July 16, 2010

Targeting Oil Pipelines

Blasts hit two oil pipelines in Dalian, a port city in northeast China's Liaoning Province, Friday. An explosion first hit a 0.9 meter-diameter oil pipeline at about 6 p.m. and triggered an adjacent smaller pipeline to explode near Dalian Xingang Harbor. Both pipelines, owned by China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), caught fire and more than 400 firefighters and 110 fire engines are working at the site. Blaze of the larger pipeline has been extinguished by 11:30 p.m. but more than 200 meters of the smaller one is still on fire as firefighters failed to turn off its oil pump. The government is sending special jets to transport fire foam for the campaign. An oil tank that was unloading oil in the harbor when the blast broke out had left the scene unharmed. The pipelines were links between oil ships and land tankers. Local authorities are investigating the incident.

Oil pipeline attacks are a major threat from terrorist and extremist groups that seek serious disruption and major media attention. The energy sector is one of the most critical to nations' critical infrastructure. Although the cause of the Chinese explosions have not been determined as terrorism based, the harm is the same. In early July an explosion and fire on the Kirkuk-Ceyhan oil pipeline halted the flow of at least 5,000 barrels of oil. Turkish officials said the pipeline would be back up and running quickly, however. No organization claimed responsibility for the explosion, though analysts say the incident bore the hallmarks of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. Nihat Ozcan, an analyst with the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey, told Turkish daily newspaper Today's Zaman that such events are capable of sending strong messages to the international community. "The financial cost of attacking the pipeline is minimal but still able to inflict much harm," he said. "Pipelines are easy targets."



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Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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