Fire at Kuwait oil refinery under control, injuries reported

Firefighters bring the blaze under control in the refinery’s treatment unit, which removes sulfur from the oil products.

The fire at the Mina al-Ahmadi oil refinery was quickly brought under control in 2008 [File: Yasser Al-Zayyat/AFP]

A fire that erupted at Kuwait’s largest oil refinery has now been contained with the state-owned oil company reporting a number of injuries, including smoke inhalation.

Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) said that Monday’s blaze at the Mina al-Ahmadi oil refinery along Kuwait’s Persian Gulf coastline north of its border with Saudi Arabia did not affect its electrical supply or oil exports.

The atmospheric residue desulphurisation (ARDS) unit where the fire broke out was isolated and the fire was brought under control, the state refiner said.

The KNPC said that those injured had received first aid at the site, or been transported to a hospital and were in “stable condition”.

“The refinery operations and export operations were not affected and there has been no impact to local marketing operations and supplies to the electricity and water ministry,” KNPC said on its Twitter account.

Residents in Kuwait’s coastal Fahaheel district reported hearing a large explosion and shared footage on social media of thick, black smoke billowing over the highway.

Kuwait, a nation home to 4.1 million people, has the world’s sixth-largest known oil reserves.

Largest refinery

The Mina al-Ahmadi refinery, on a 10.5 square kilometre site, began operating in 1949.

It is the largest of three refineries of the state petrol company, producing about 466,000 barrels of petrol per day.

A fourth refinery with a production capacity of 615,000 barrels per day is under construction and set to begin operation by the end of the year.

The oil-rich Gulf emirate produces about 2.4 million barrels of petrol per day, most of which is exported.

In June 2000, the Mina al-Ahmadi refinery experienced significant damage when an explosion caused by a gas leak rocked the southern oil town and closed down production. The accident killed at least four people and injured dozens of others.

In 2008, there was a similar accident at the same oil refinery that was quickly brought under control.

A Kuwaiti national looks at his country’s largest oil refinery burning after a gas leak caused a huge explosion on June 25, 2000 [File: Reuters]
Source: News Agencies