An explosion caused by a gas leak at Kuwait's 444,000 b/d Mina al Ahmadi oil refinery on Sunday killed four people and injured 49 others, according to the Kuwaiti News Agency. The refinery will be closed for 7-10 days for an investigation and damage assessment, says Sami al Rushaid, deputy chairman of Kuwait National Petroleum Co.
Kuwaiti Oil Minister Sheikh Saud Nasser al-Sabah said the country's crude oil supplies would not be affected by the blast. He said some units at the refinery would be out of operation for months and others for several weeks.
On Monday, Al-Sabah announced he tendered his resignation to the emir because of the blast, although he said he bears no direct blame. The emir will decide whether to accept the resignation.
Al Rushaid said two 18,000 b/d gasoline-producing units were severely damaged by the explosion and fire. A 122,000 bpd crude distillation unit suffered major damage, while another crude unit, with capacity of 120,000 b/d, suffered moderate damage.
Mina al Ahmadi, the largest of the country's three refineries, is 40 km south of Kuwait's capital. It was built in 1949 but has been upgraded several times, notably after the Persian Gulf war of 1991.
Kuwait produces 1.98 million b/d of crude oil. On July 1, it will raise its output to 2.04 million b/d, in line with OPEC's decision last week to increase the group's output to ease prices in global markets.