A fire broke out at a major oil refinery in Kuwait Monday, the state-owned oil company KNPC (Kuwait’s National Petroleum Company) said. KNPC also reported that several workers’ breathing was disrupted due to inhaling smoke and suffered other minor injuries. Those who suffered burns were treated at a nearby hospital.
The fire at the main Mina al-Ahmadi oil refinery — on Kuwait’s Persian Gulf coastline bordering Saudi Arabia — has not affected electricity supply or oil exports, according to the KNPC.
The refinery was built to process 25,000 barrels of oil per day for supply to Kuwait’s domestic market, mainly for gasoline and diesel. The refinery recently underwent an expansion to reduce emissions and increase its capacity to 346,000 barrels per day.
Firefighters tried to put out the fire in the plant’s maintenance unit, which serves to remove sulfur from oil products.
Many residents in the Fahaheel district on Kuwait’s coast reported hearing a huge explosion related to the blast and posting videos on social media showing thick, black smoke billowing over the highway.
Kuwait, a country of 4.1 million people, is slightly smaller than the US state of New Jersey. The country has the sixth largest oil reserves in the world. [ab/ka]