TOKYO, July 31 (Reuters) - Japanese oil refiner Idemitsu Kosan Co said it started preparations on Tuesday to restart the fire-hit 220,000 barrels per day No.2 crude distillation unit (CDU) at its Chiba refinery, east of Tokyo, earlier than its previous schedule.
The company had said it expected to resume operations of the CDU by around Aug. 9. Local authorities gave permission for restart after the repair work was completed on Monday, it said in a statement.
The refinery's sole CDU was shut immediately after the fire was confirmed from near the CDU's naphtha circulation lines on July 19. Idemitsu said oil that leaked from an aperture in the pipeline led to the fire. (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Michael Watson)