(AFP, KUWAIT CITY) - A gasoline unit at Al-Ahmadi refinery untouched by a deadly explosion that brought production to a standstill last month is expected to be back in operation from July 25, a senior Kuwaiti oil official said Sunday.
"The unit is currently undergoing final testing and is expected to be ready for operation on July 25," Rajeh al-Omair, head of public relations at Kuwait National Petroleum Co. (KNPC), told AFP.
All of the unit's production of 40,000 barrels per day (bpd) of fuel will be used for domestic consumption, Omair said.
At the time of the explosion the unit had been undergoing repairs.
KNPC, which owns all the three refineries in Kuwait, 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.
According to an initial assessment, an oil distillation unit with a capacity of 122,000 bpd was extensively damaged and another with 120,000 bpd capacity suffered medium damage in the explosion caused by a gas leak.
A third unit with 200,000 bpd capacity escaped unaffected by the blast and is expected to resume production shortly.
"We are still waiting for an insurance clearance to start repairs and probably operate that unit. Our export pipelines are safe and ready for operations," Omair said.
Most of Al-Ahmadi production was meant for export. 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 )