KUWAIT CITY, Sept 29, (RTRS): Kuwait Petroleum Corp is expected to reduce spot exports of high sulphur gasoil for at least the next few months while its officials decide if a fire-hit secondary unit at its Shuaiba refinery will be repaired, industry sources said on Monday. A fire hit a heavy oil cracking unit at the 200,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) Shuaiba refinery — Kuwait’s smallest — in mid-August, and spot supplies have been disrupted since then, the sources said. “The unit is ‘gone’ and so there are no excess volumes from there,” one of the sources said. “(KPC) is just meeting its term commitment.”
The unit might take months to be restored and it could take 2 to 3 weeks for KPC to decide whether it should be brought back online, a second industry source said. “There has not been a decision if it would be brought back or not,” the second source said. The full impact of the unit’s shutdown on oil product exports will be more clear by next month but spot gasoil exports will be reduced, said another source.
A KPC spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment on the matter. KPC last exported a high sulphur gasoil cargo over Sept 1-2 and has not offered any cargo in the spot market for October-loading so far, traders said. KPC typically exports about 40,000 to 65,000 tonnes a month of high sulphur gasoil via the spot market, although volumes usually drop during the summer when demand for the fuel for power generation peaks due to air-conditioning use. The Shuaiba refinery was operating at 150,000 bpd as of last week after restarting on Aug 22.
The ageing coastal refinery in southern Kuwait, commissioned in 1968, is due to be mothballed after the new 615,000-bpd Al-Zour refinery comes online by 2019. Shuaiba refinery produces light, medium and heavy products, including ordinary naphtha, gasoline, kerosene, fuel oil and gasoil. It produces around 2 million tonnes of gasoil with a sulphur content of 0.2 percent and higher and 2 million tonnes of jet fuel a year, a source has said earlier. OPEC member Kuwait has three refineries, including Shuaiba, with a combined capacity of 930,000 bpd.