Three Dead in Blast, Kuwaiti Refinery Shut down
Three workers were killed and 43 injured in a blast at Kuwait's main oil refinery on Sunday, damaging the complex and forcing its closure, in the second such deadly incident in a week, oil officials said.
Mohammad al-Tawil, vice president of Kuwait National Petroleum Co. (KNPC), said the blast at Al-Ahmadi refinery, 40 kilometers south of the capital, was caused by a leak from a natural gas treatment unit.
The charred bodies of three workers, including at least one Kuwaiti, were recovered from the refinery, he told a press conference, updating an earlier casualty toll. One of the injured was in serious condition.
The refinery has been closed and its exports halted, said Hamzi Baksh, chief of operations at Al-Ahmadi. But Kuwait's two other refineries were working as usual.
"The fire caused by the explosion is under control, but the flames have not been completely put out," he said, adding that workers had tried in vain to seal the gas leak for more than an hour.
The refinery was badly damaged by the blast.
Oil minister, Sheikh Saud Nasser Sabah, has already ordered an official probe into what was called Kuwait's worst refinery disaster since the 1991 Gulf War after two technicians were killed and four others hurt in a major gas leak on June 18th.
The two died of suffocation from hydrogen sulphide gas, which leaked at one of the units at Shuaiba refinery, some 80 kilometers south of Kuwait City -- AL-AHMADI (AFP)
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