The Kuwait skyline. The Al Zour refinery comprises three mini-refineries. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Kuwait has started commercial operations of the first phase of its Al Zour mega-refinery, after the initial production and sale of fuel oil began last month to supply local power stations.

Commercial operations at Al Zour are a “long-term investment aimed at providing international and local markets with high-quality products”, Khaled Al Awadhi, the refinery’s deputy chief executive, was cited as saying by state-run KUNA news agency on Sunday.

Comprising three mini refineries, Al Zour is the biggest of several oil-processing facilities being added across the Middle East. The Dangote refinery in Nigeria, slightly bigger at 650,000 barrels a day, is due to start up in 2023.

The second and third phases of the refinery will follow, until full capacity is reached, Waleed Al Bader, acting CEO of Kuwait Integrated Petroleum Industries Co, told KUNA.

The entire refinery, with combined crude-processing capacity of 615,000 barrels a day, could be up and running by January, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg last month. Once the facility on Kuwait’s coast is working fully, it will boost the OPEC member’s refining capacity to about 1.5 million barrels a day.