Kuwait factory fire raises concerns over nearby refinery

05 June 2008

An explosion and fire at a Kuwait paint facility, close to the state’s Mina Abdulla refinery, caused oil prices to rise by nearly a dollar as traders reacted nervously to the news.

Crude was trading at $123.71 on the afternoon of 5 June, up from a pervious day's close of $122.30.

It is unclear what caused the fire at the paints and chemicals plant close to the refining facility, but officials from state refinery operator Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) were quick to state that operations at Mina Abdulla were unaffected.

The fire was brought under control in the afternoon. One worker at the plant was injured in the blaze.

Kuwait has a poor safety record for its hydrocarbons sector. Several fires have occurred at its Shuaiba refinery in recent years, and there have also been several pipeline leaks.

In 2001, a massive explosion at the northern Rawdhatain oil field caused the state’s crude production capacity to drop by 250,000 barrels a day.

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