Fire-shuttered Al-Shuaiba refinery to restart soon, KNPC says

Kuwait National Petroleum Co. (KNPC) plans to restore operations at its 200,000-b/d Al-Shuaiba refinery within the coming days after an Aug. 17 fire forced a complete shutdown of processing activities at the site.

The fire, which broke out in crude demulsifiers at the refinery’s heavy crude unit, was quickly contained, and remaining processing units will resume full operations in a few days, KNPC said on Aug. 18 in a series of posts to its social media accounts.

While no injuries occurred as a result of the incident, KNPC shuttered all processing units as a precautionary measure following the fire’s eruption, the company said.

Physical damage from the fire is limited to only the heavy crude unit, Kuwait’s Ministry of Oil (MOP) said.

While an investigation committee has been formed to conduct a more thorough investigation into the incident, preliminary findings show the fire was caused by a gas leak from associated piping at the incident area.

The faulty pipes have since been isolated and depressurized, MOP said.

For the duration of the refinery’s temporary outage, KNPC will continue to meet product supply obligations to the regional market with production from its 270,000-b/d Mina Abdullah and 466,000-b/d Mina Al-Ahmadi refineries, the ministry said.

Neither KNPC nor MOP disclosed details regarding a timeline for the potential restart of Al-Shuaiba’s heavy crude unit.

KNPC previously announced that it will close the Al-Shuaiba refinery following construction of the planned 615,000-b/d Al-Zour refinery complex in southern Kuwait as part of the company’s Clean Fuels Project (OGJ Online, July 31, 2015).

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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