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Second fire in just three months at Kuwait’s largest refinery kills two, injures ten

18 January 2022

A fire at the Mina al-Ahmadi oil refinery in Kuwait killed two contractors and injured 10 others on January 14. The incident is the second fire to have happened at the country’s largest refinery in the last three months after a number of people were injured in October.

Mina al-Ahmadi refinery - Image: KNPC/Wikimedia
Mina al-Ahmadi refinery - Image: KNPC/Wikimedia

Waleed Al-Bader, the CEO of Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) which operates the Mina al-Ahmadi refinery on the Persian Gulf coastline just south of Kuwait City, said in a statement that a fire incident occurred at LPG Unit #32, killing two contractors and leaving 10 others with varying degrees of burns. Several of the injured are in critical conditions. The LPG Unit was undergoing maintenance when the incident happened.

The Kuwait Fire Force was called to the scene where it worked with KNPC’s fire teams to extinguish the blaze. The fire was put out after a few hours, KNPC said. The incident did not impact refinery operations because the damaged unit was already out of service, the company said.

The Minister of Oil and KNPC's Chairman, Dr. Mohamed Al-Faris, accompanied several KNPC executives on a visit to the site to oversee operations and the transfer of the injured contractors to hospital.

In his statement, Al-Bader added: “I would like to emphasize Employees’ safety ranking first for the Company as it commits itself to this top priority being a profound inherent responsibility. KNPC has an integrated system of controls in place that is constantly implemented and followed up with great precision.

“The occurrence of such emergency incidents is very painful for us. However, though unfortunate, it is likely in the Oil & Gas industry. Yet, we are seriously striving and through scientific methods to reduce such incidents.”

The incident is the second to have occurred at the Mina al-Ahmadi refinery in the last three months after another fire erupted on October 18, injuring several people. The fire reportedly broke out at the refinery’s atmospheric residue desulphurisation (ARDS) unit. KNPC did not say how many people were injured, however it said several employees and contractors had suffered minor injuries, including smoke inhalation, and received treatment at the site. Some of the injured required treatment at hospital, but the KNPC said they were in a stable condition.

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