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Japanese refinery to remain closed after explosion

23 July 2013

On July 22 fire authorities on Okinawa, southwestern Japan, ordered that all operations at Nansei Sekiyu KK’s Nishihara refinery be suspended following a gas explosion in a furnace. The 100,000-barrel-per-day refinery, wholly owned by Brazil's Petrobras, had been under maintenance since July 2 and was scheduled to be restarted on July 20. 

The incident - which occurred during preparation for restart of the refinery after maintenance - damaged one of the walls of a furnace used in the production of gasoline, according to Reuters.
The fire department said that repair work on the furnace will likely take at least a month.

"On account of the circumstances, resumption of refining operations will be postponed for a while," Nansei Sekiyu said in a statement on the incident.

The explosion had no impact on the refinery's crude distillation unit (CDU), which is located away from the furnace. The fire department said it is likely to grant an earlier restart of the CDU if Nansei requests to do so.

Nansei Sekiyu had to shut down the refinery for nearly two weeks last month after a fire on June 6. The earlier incident pushed back its previously scheduled maintenance to July.

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