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Four die in Kuwait oil field fire

Fire and dense smoke billows out of the al-Rawdatian oilfield
Fire and dense smoke billows out of the al-Rawdatian oilfield  

KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait (CNN) -- At least four oil workers were killed and 17 others injured in a massive explosion and fire at a Kuwait oilfield near the Iraqi border, the chairman of the state-run Kuwait Oil Company has said.

The fire, which erupted late on Thursday at the al-Rawdatian oil field in the northern part of the country, was under control by Friday afternoon, chairman Ahmed al-Arbeed said, though scattered small fires continued to burn.

He said the army fire brigade and military police were on the scene to assist rescuers and firefighters.

Fifty percent of north Kuwait's oil production was out of service because of the fire, but oil exports were not affected, Arbeed added, because the Kuwait Oil Company was drawing oil from fields in the west and south.

The disaster began about 11 p.m. on Thursday (2000 GMT) with a major oil leak at one of the oil gathering stations.

Emergency teams responded and began vacuuming up the oil, but some of it seeped toward a transformer where it was ignited by a spark.

Workers at the site said they believed all but one of those killed were non-Kuwaitis working for the clean-up crew, because such outside contractors typically hire foreign nationals.

The victims were not immediately identified.

The al-Rawdatian field has a daily output of 280,000 barrels.


• Kuwait Online

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