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Sun 20 Mar 2011 06:35 PM

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BAPCO oil output fall due to overhaul, not unrest

State-backed Bahrain Petroleum Co will be back at full capacity in April after maintenance, says CEO

BAPCO oil output fall due to overhaul, not unrest
FULL CAPACITY: BAPCO will resume full capacity output in the first week of April (Getty Images)

Long-planned maintenance rather than the knock-on effects of political upheaval in Bahrain is to blame for a cut in oil products output at state-owned Bahrain Petroleum Co (BAPCO), its chief executive said on Sunday.

Output is down to 190,000 barrels per day from a full capacity of 260,000 barrels per day mainly due to major refinery maintenance, CEO Faisal Mohamed Al-Mahroos said.

"We have the biggest maintenance shutdown in our history. We have 190,000 barrels per day available at the moment...Our terminals are running as normal," he said.

Traders said on Thursday the refinery was partially shut down due to staff shortages because of political unrest in the kingdom.

But Al Mahroos said reduced production was mainly due to the maintenance, and that the operations were not affected much by the political upheaval.

"We have 80 percent attendance in our workforce," he said. "We have done two shipments from our terminal over the weekend."

Shipping sources said on Sunday that Bahrain's three ports - Sitra, Mina Sulman and Hidd - were operating as normal.

The refinery, which started its major maintenance turnaround in February that shut down multiple units, was due to come back to full capacity in the first week of April, Al Mahroos said.

BAPCO's natural gas operations have not been affected by the unrest, Al-Mahroos said, adding that supplies to power stations and the aluminium industry continued.

"It hasn't slowed down or stopped," he said, adding that 30 percent of the 1.5 billion cubic feet per day production was going to the aluminium industry, while another 30 percent was for power generation.

"We run a local marketing business and this is where we have a problem," Al-Mahroos said, adding that 10 out of the 40 petrol stations in the country were closed to due unrest.

He said the company was supplying 24,000 barrels per day of oil products to the domestic market.

Sunday was the first working day in the kingdom after a week that saw closures of schools and universities to prevent outbreaks of sectarian clashes that had become virtually a daily event.

BAPCO was also building a 420,000 barrels-per-day lubricants plant for $400m, Al-Mahroos said. "The construction is moving as normal... We should be starting in June," he said.

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