Al-Zour Refinery must go to KNPC

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WE appeal to our oil minister to transfer Al-Zour Refinery to Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) because it is currently run by an operator that has no experience in running and operating refineries. It comes as a shock that people inexperienced in running refineries are being tasked to run our new refinery. Al-Zour Refinery is the biggest refinery in Kuwait, and in fact one of the biggest in the region and in the world, with a production capacity of 615,000 barrels per day. It is the most advanced refinery that produces the best petroleum products, and meets the world’s need for light products produced from medium-type crude oil. However, even though it has not started operating fully, it has been facing fire and other accidents. Four accidents occurred in this refinery, leading to ten days of complete shutdown. Just when the refinery was to start again, another fire accident occurred last week in the hydrogen unit.

The main reason behind such fire accidents is the presence of staff who lack the necessary experience to run and operate such complex machinery. It is the most difficult and dangerous operation that involves the use of all kinds of dangerous molecules and chemicals, and can lead to fire accidents if not carried out properly. The Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC)’s board took such a bad decision to form a new company Kuwait Integrated Petroleum Industries Company (KIPIC) and give it the task of running the new Al-Zour refinery. That company has zero experience in the refinery field, due to which the refinery ended up with such bad results and performance. Such a complex refinery could easily earn us more than a $15 profit margin for one barrel of crude oil. Now, we must struggle to rectify and remedy the situation at such an expense. This has also caused bad publicity for our refinery and the Kuwait oil industry.

How can we face our customers when our name has made it into the Guinness Book of Records for the highest number of fire accidents in refineries?
Dear Mr. Minister, now is the time to make a decision about giving Al-Zour to KNPC at a cost so that it can be run by well experienced people. We should not wait for another disaster to occur, as if something like that happens, you will be held responsible. Give your instructions to allow KNPC to operate the refinery and bring their own staff to manage and operate Al- Zour. The company has failed to run and operate a refinery of this size and complexity. It is a temporary measure until the time when there is a full KPC reorganization with fewer companies to take place.

However this for sure will face heavy resistance causing lower companies and lower employment opportunities. Enough with the fire accidents in our refineries… Necessary action must be taken… It is time to act… It is perhaps time to bring in experienced retired local staff to work in Al-Zour refinery on a temporary basis, as our refineries are being depleted of experienced professionals because the system in Kuwait refers for retirement any employee who completes 30 years of work experience, regardless.

By Kamel Al-Harami
Independent Oil Analyst
Email: [email protected]

This news has been read 7687 times!

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