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CDU at Kuwait's Mina al-Ahmadi down after fire: KPC sources

Highlights

CDU and RDU down after fire: sources

CDU expected down for two weeks - KPC sources

CDU approximate capacity at 180,000bpd - KPC sources

A large crude desulfurization unit at Kuwait's 346,000 b/d Mina al-Ahmadi refinery is down after a fire broke out on Monday at a sulfur removal unit and production of gasoline and gasoil production has been impacted, sources close to KPC told S&P Global Platts on Oct. 20.

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Operations at Kuwait's Mina al-Ahmadi oil refinery were unaffected by the fire, state-owned Kuwait National Petroleum Co. said Oct. 18 as quoted by the KUNA news agency. The company also said that the fire has been contained and it was working on restoring operations on the unit.

It was unavailable to comment Oct. 20.

"The actual fire was in the RDU, however the CDU was down also because of the fire, it was not damaged but they shut it down and other units for precautional procedure and some of the products were impacted like gasoline," said a KPC source.

"[Now] they will need to import 30-40kt of gasoline and they are having some problems with gasoil... it was a minor thing that they will handle internally with sales department," he said adding the company will make efforts to avoid disturbing the market.

The CDU is one of three at Mina al-Ahmadi refinery with a capacity of around 180,000 b/d and may take up to two weeks to return, the source said.

The three CDUs are divided into two large 180,000 b/d CDUs and a small 24,000 b/d CDU to run heavy grade crudes.

Another source close to KPC said the company confirmed the company's gasoline production and all products related to the CDU had been impacted.

"The crude desulfurization has been affected and because it's the crude desulfurization unit, and not gasoil or any other product, that will have an effect on all the subsequent processes," the second KPC source said.

He added KPC will be issuing a tender for a 95 RON gasoline cargo of 30,000 mt – 40,000 mt loading 5-6 November as a result.

Facts Global Energy (FGE) Managing Director Iman Nasseri said KPC were running at 50% or less before the fire and had to go to the market to compensate for lower RONs due to complications with its Clean Fuels Project (CFP).

"There were post CFP commissioning complications that forced KPC to run the two refineries at lower rates and that would have had implications on their product output that they had to go to the market to compensate," Nasseri said.

"Because they had redundant capacity available and were running at lower rates, the implication on the market will be minimal, it was expected for them to go to the market," Nasseri said.