19 May 2008 06:03 [Source: ICIS news]
(Recasts lead and updates throughout)
SINGAPORE (ICIS news)—A week after a massive earthquake shook Sichuan, the China Seismological Bureau raised the magnitude of the disaster to 8.0 on the Richter scale from 7.8 previously, media reports said on Monday.
The area has suffered at least 24 aftershocks of 5.0 or above on the Richter scale since Monday's quake, the reports added. Sunday's aftershock, with a magnitude of 6.0, shook some of the worst-hit parts of
As of 1400 local time on Sunday (0600 GMT), the official death toll stood at 32,477 but experts estimate the eventual total to exceed 50,000.
Apart from the heavy human cost, the financial cost of the quake was estimated at a staggering $20bn, according to consulting firm Air Worldwide. It was not clear if the estimates included the cost of interruptions in oilfield operations.
“Overall, when all the dust has settled, I would estimate a total damage not exceeding CNY3bn ($420m) for PetroChina and CNY2bn for Sinopec, roughly 2% and 5% of their overall 2008 profit estimates,” Gordon Kwan, Head of China Energy at CLSA said on Monday.
There has been no damage to subsurface oil/gas reserves although there are temporary intermittent interruptions to oil/gas production in the region, he said, adding that 908 petrol stations, 47 oil tanks and 71 oil/gas pipelines were damaged so far, at an estimate of Rmb1.78bn in losses.
The human suffering, meanwhile, continued to attract worldwide attention but is not expected to ease anytime soon.
The focus of the relief effort has begun to shift towards providing food, medical care and shelter for the millions of people affected by the quake.
Reports said that two
Its Disease Prevention and Control Centre has been mobilised and over 144 medical personnel have been despatched to guide health and epidemic work at the quake-stricken area.
The earthquake also damaged 391 dams, which were currently being inspected amid fears of floods as a result of landslides.
More than 2,000 troops were sent to work on the Zipingpu dam, which is situation upstream from the badly damaged city of
However, the Ministry of Water Resources announced in a statement on Thursday that the dam together with two other major dams were structurally safe.
The Three Gorges Dam build to withstand Earthquakes of up to 7 on the Richter scale apparently escaped unscathed in the wake of the quake.
The province's chemicals industry has been hit hard by the disaster, which has led to major production and logistics problems. Nine out of the remaining 10 firms among the 66 suspended from trading on the Shanghai Stock Exchange issued statements on Friday detailing the damage.
The quake also affected the markets.
Two fertilizer plants collapsed on Monday and numerous shutdowns have been reported.
Its subsidiary Nanchong refinery has restarted its crude distillation unit (CDU) and some other units producing solvent oil, baseoils and paraffin would resume soon, a company source said.
On Thursday, three dimethyl ether (DME) producers said they had resumed normal production but were still being affected by logistics problems.
With additional reporting by Gabriela Wheeler, Ng Hun Wei, Chow Bee Lin, Prema Viswanathan, Helen Lee, Peh Soo Hwee, Anu Agarwal, Hong Chou Hui, Bohan Loh, Dolly Wu and Brian Myung
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