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Sun 20 Feb 2011 04:44 PM

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Bahrain refinery sees no impact from strike, political crisis

Bapco starts planned maintenance shutdown; has not been affected by anti-government protests

Bahrain refinery sees no impact from strike, political crisis
MAINTENANCE SHUTDOWN: Bapco plans to conduct work on the low-sulfur diesel plant, according to its earlier statement (Bloomberg Images)

Bahrain Petroleum Co, the state-owned operator of the kingdom’s only refinery, started a planned maintenance shutdown and has not been affected by anti-government protests, a company official said.

The business, known as Bapco, started a partial shutdown last week and has stopped the 267,000 barrel-a-day refinery’s hydrocracker for servicing, said the official, who asked not to be identified by name, citing a company policy barring unauthorised interviews with media.

Maintenance was scheduled from February 16 until early April, according to a company statement last month. Bapco can shorten the schedule and delay work that hasn’t been started if the situation changes and some phases of the maintenance are interrupted, the official said.

The island nation of Bahrain is one of the latest Arab states to experience political unrest since the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt stepped down amid demonstrations that started last month. Protesters in Bahrain are calling for a constitutional monarchy and change of government.

Bahrain’s General Federation for Trade Unions suspended a nationwide strike that it had called today to protest the government’s violent response to the unrest, according to an emailed statement today. Government forces forced protesters out of a central area in the capital, Manama, before tanks and armored personnel carriers withdrew yesterday.

Bapco, plans to conduct work on the low-sulfur diesel plant, according to its earlier statement. The equipment to be shut down includes a hydrocracker, a hydrogen plant, a sulfur recovery unit and flare, and units for crude, gas recovery and vacuum distillation.

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