A unit untouched by a huge blast that halted production last June at Kuwait's Al-Ahmadi refinery has resumed normal operation, the Kuwait National Petroleum Co. said Wednesday.
Crude Distillation Unit (CDU) 4, with a capacity of 200,000 barrels per day (bpd), resumed production on Saturday after passing trial operations, KNPC said in a statement carried by the KUNA news agency.
A unit for production of aviation fuel also resumed operation on Tuesday, the state-owned company added.
Subsidiary production units for hydrogen and gas treatment are also operational "in preparation for the resumption of full capacity production".
A gasoline unit that produces fuel for domestic consumption and the raw material for the polypropylene plant of the state-owned Petrochemicals Industries Company (PIC) was restored to normal operation last August.
KNPC, which owns all three refineries in Kuwait, said diesel treatment and residue desulphurization units are expected to resume production in two days after successful preliminary tests.
Operation was resumed in July 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 is standing as a reserve.
Al-Ahmadi refinery, which has a capacity of 450,000 bpd, representing half of Kuwait's refined oil exports, was 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 allegation.
The emirate's cabinet in August 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. – (AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)