A gasoline unit at Kuwait's Al-Ahmadi refinery untouched by a deadly explosion that halted production last June has resumed normal operation, newspapers reported on Sunday.
The unit, which resumed operation on Thursday, will produce fuel for domestic consumption and the raw material for the polypropylene plant of the state-owned Petrochemicals Industries Company (PIC).
Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC), which owns all three refineries in the emirate, said in a statement that more units of the damaged refinery will gradually be put back into operation.
At the time of the explosion the unit, with a production capacity of 40,000 barrels per day (bpd), had been undergoing repairs.
KNPC has already resumed operation in two of the three liquified petroleum gas (LPG) lines at Al-Ahmadi which produce 1,120 million cubic feet (33.6 million cubic metres) a day.
The third line was standing as a reserve.
Al-Ahmadi refinery, which has a capacity of 450,000 bpd, representing half of Kuwait's refined oil exports, has been completely shut down for damage assessment following the June 25 explosion in which six people died and 50 were injured.
A week earlier, a gas leak at Shuaiba refinery killed two Kuwaiti oil workers and injured four others.
A government commission which investigated the leak put the blame partly on US oil giant, Chevron Corp., but the firm categorically denied the allegations.
The emirate's cabinet last Sunday asked the public prosecution to start a criminal investigation into the two incidents.
About 40 percent of the emirate's oil exports are in the form of refined products from three refineries with a total capacity of 900,000 bpd.
Kuwait resumed crude oil exports from a terminal adjacent to Al-Ahmadi refinery just one day after the explosion.
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )