Residents in a natural gas-producing northeastern Chinese province have made a video of tap water being set on fire with a lighter – a video that went viral – prompting an investigation by local authorities and a shutdown of the water supply to part of a city because natural gas had leaked into the groundwater.
Videos of tap water in the city of Panjin, in China’s Liaoning province, surfaced on Chinese social media and became so popular that the story was picked up by the People’s Daily, a Chinese state-affiliated media outlet.
According to People’s Daily’s tweet:
“The odd scene is caused by natural gas infiltration due to temporary underground water supply system error, which is now shut down. Normal supply has resumed.”
The local government has said that further investigation would be conducted into the cause of the incident, People’s Daily reported.
However, according to media reports in China, carried by Newsweek, flammable tap water is not a new phenomenon in the district of the city of Panjin where the latest video was recorded. Residents in Dawa district have said that they had seen instances of burning tap water since at least 2018. Other residents say that their tap water has always been more “oily”.
A report from the CCTV outlet said that residents had first noticed the flammable tap water “three to four years” ago.
Chinese authorities said that after a “comprehensive investigation of the tap water sources in the whole district, no such problems have been found in other areas.”
The Liaoning province has natural gas reserves, and last year in November, a unit of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC)— Liaohe Oilfield—started construction of an $8.5-billion gas storage project in the city of Panjin, which would be the biggest underground natural gas storage center in northeast China.