West Asia

Fire breaks out at Kuwait oil refinery

Published : October 18, 2021 15:59 IST

Kuwait's largest oil refinery at the Al-Ahmadi complex, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) south of the capital Kuwait City. A fire broke out on October 18, 2021 in Al-Ahmadi refinery, with no interruptions to site operations or petrol exports. Photo: Yasser Al-Zayyat / AFP

An explosion at a refinery in Kuwait has sent plumes of smoke billowing into the sky.

A fire broke out on October 18 at the sulfur removal unit of the Mina Al-Ahmadi oil refinery in Kuwait, the country's National Petroleum Company (KNPC) said. Residents of the Fahaheel district reported hearing an explosion, AP said. People took to social media to share photos and videos of the blaze.

"The refinery operations and export operations were not affected and there has been no impact to local marketing operations and supplies to the electricity and water ministry," KNPC said on its Twitter account. It later added that a number of people had suffered minor injuries and that there were cases of suffocation due to the inhalation of fumes. It added that all those affected were in a stable condition, but some had been taken to a local hospital.

How important is the refinery?

The company also said it had isolated the atmospheric residue desulfurization unit (ARDS) — which removes sulfur from the end product — and firefighters were already tackling the flames.

KNPC said last month that it was expanding the capacity of the Mina Al-Ahmadi facility to 346,000 barrels a day. This is part of a project to produce fuel with lower emissions. The refinery facility is situated on the Persian Gulf, just north of the Kuwaiti border with Saudi Arabia. It primarily supplies the country's domestic market with gasoline and diesel.

Kuwait is home to a little over 4 million people and it has the world's sixth-largest known oil reserves.

ab/rt (Reuters, AP)