A fire at Kuwait’s 200,000 barrel-per-day Shuaiba oil refinery on Monday led to its total shutdown but there were no casualties, an official at state refiner Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) said. Ahmad Al-Jaimaz, acting chief executive, said in a statement on the company’s Twitter account that a fire at the heavy oil cracking unit at Kuwait’s smallest refinery had been brought under control. “No injuries were recorded so far.
All the refinery’s units have been shut down and all employees were evacuated as a precautionary measure,” Jaimaz said in a statement. He said firefighters and emergency teams were on high alert. A KNPC source told Reuters that because of refined products in storage, the country’s exports deals would not be affected by the shutdown. It was too early to say when Shuaiba would be back in full operation and the authorities would investigate the cause of the fire, the source said.
Sheikh Talal Al-Khaled al-Sabah, the spokesperson for the country’s oil industry said later on Monday that the fire was not the result of a terrorist act and the cause was still under investigation. An industry source had told Reuters earlier that there was an explosion at Shuaiba. OPEC member Kuwait has three refineries with a combined capacity of 930,000 bpd.
The ageing coastal Shuaiba refinery in southern Kuwait, commissioned in 1968, is due to be mothballed after the new 615,000-bpd Al-Zour refinery comes on line by 2019. Shuaiba refinery produces light, medium and heavy products, including gas, ordinary naphtha, gasoline, kerosene, fuel oil and diesel. Shuaiba produces around 2 million tonnes of gasoil and another 2 million tonnes of jet fuel, another industry source said, adding that while he did not expect much impact on gasoil exports, supplies of jet fuel could be disrupted.
Meanwhile, a committee was formed to investigate circumstances that led to a fire outbreak in demulsifiers of heavy crude at Al-Shuaiba oil refinery this morning, Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) announced, on Monday. KNPC Acting CEO Ahmad Al-Jaimaz told KUNA that the fire, which was caused by a gas leakage in one of the refinery pipes, was fully contained. No injuries were reported, except for few exhaustion cases. Governor of Ahmadi Sheikh Fawaz Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, meanwhile, expressed relief that the incident didn’t result in any human loss or causalities, lauding professional and efficient efforts to control the fire in a timely manner. He also praised precautions imposed by KNPC, Public Authority for Industry and the fire department to prevent the occurrence of similar accident.
Moreover, Public Authority for Environment announced that no increase of gas emission has been recorded, pointing out that percentages of gas concentrations in the accident area are within registered environmental standards. Nearby residential areas including Ali Sabah Al-Salem, Ahmadi and Fahaheel are environmentally safe, it added.
Source: Arab Times