Fire at Kuwait's Al Ahmadi refinery under 'full control'

State oil company says several injuries occurred but exports and local supply unaffected by blaze

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A fire that broke out at Kuwait's Mina Al Ahmadi oil refinery on Monday, causing several injuries, was brought under "full" control, the state-owned company said.

Export operations and supplies to the local market were not affected.

Kuwait National Petroleum Company said the fire started in one of the residual oil desulphurisation units at Mina Al Ahmadi Refinery.

Unit No 42 and all lines leading to it have been isolated, the company said.

Several workers had light injuries and there were a few cases of smoke inhalation, a spokeswoman at KNPC told The National. Some were treated on the spot, while two were taken to Al Adan Hospital and their situation was stable.

Oil minister, head of KPC and other senior officials to the fire site at Al Ahmadi refinery. Photo: KNPC

Emergency management officials at the refinery were assessing the situation and will issue an official statement later, she said.

The company said the refinery's export operations and supplies for the local market and the Electricity and Water Ministry were not affected by the fire.

“There was a small fire at the ARDS unit that resulted in a limited and small explosion ... that caused several light injuries,“ Abdulaziz Ahmed Al Duaij, KNPC’s deputy chief executive for support services, told state Kuwait TV from the site of the incident.

“The limited fire was now brought under control. The unit where the fire occurred is very important and had very high pressure. But the officials at the refinery and the fire department managed to put the fire quickly under control.

"Things will go back to normal within hours."

Twitter users posted videos of smoke rising from the refinery and reported hearing an explosion at the site.

Others shared images of damage to buildings in the surrounding industrial area.

The Mina Al Ahmadi refinery has the capacity to process 466,000 barrels per day.

Kuwait National Petroleum Company modernised the plant to manufacture products with low sulphur content. The complex has four gas trains, which draw fuel for processing from fields owned by Kuwait Oil Company.

Oil minister, head of KPC and other senior officials to the fire site at Al Ahmadi refinery. Photo: KNPC

The refinery also suffered damage in a fire in 2000, which left four people dead.

Mina Al Ahmadi Refinery was built in 1949 as a simple refinery with 25,000 bpd capacity to cover the local demand for petrol, diesel and kerosene.

It occupies 10.5 square kilometres of land south of Kuwait.

Over the years, the refinery underwent a two-phase upgrade and 29 units were built with advanced technology to increase its capacity.

Updated: October 18, 2021, 1:18 PM