Japan's Nansei may restart refining ops next week

TOKYO, July 26 Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:31pm EDT

TOKYO, July 26 (Reuters) - Nansei Sekiyu KK may restart partial refining operations at its Nishihara refinery in Okinawa early next week, less than two weeks after a gas explosion at a furnace, the local fire department said on Friday.

Nansei on Thursday submitted an application to partially lift a suspension order with the fire department, a company spokesman said, asking to restart operations at its sole 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) crude distillation unit (CDU) and some other units that were undamaged as they are located away from the furnace.

The fire department had ordered the restart of the refinery to be delayed indefinitely after the gas explosion at the furnace for a 13,500 bpd gasoline-making reformer a week ago, with damage to the wall of the furnace expected to take more than a month to repair.

The incident occurred on July 19 during preparation for the restart of the refinery after maintenance.

The refinery, wholly owned by Brazil's Petrobras, had been under maintenance since July 2 and was scheduled to restart on July 20. (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Joseph Radford)

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