Khartoum Oil Refinery in Flames as Firefighting Resources Run Dry

On June the 21st, a fierce fire has consumed the Khartoum Oil Refinery, currently controlled by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Reports indicate that the Civil Defence’s firefighting supplies are now exhausted.

Eyewitnesses from the northern Omdurman countryside say the fires that started last Wednesday evening are the worst yet. The refinery, located on the Nile’s eastern bank about 20 kilometers away, is heavily damaged.

Sources close to the site report that the fire has spread to a storage facility for Nile Blend crude oil from the Heglig field in West Kordofan State. The fire’s cause remains unknown.

These sources also mention that the specialized “foam” extinguishing agent used by Civil Defense teams at the refinery has run out due to the frequent fires and limited supply.

Civil activists have raised concerns about the environmental impact of the escalating oil storage fires, urging for the evacuation of workers and their families from nearby housing.

The Oil Sector Workers’ Union noted in a May 24 press release that the refinery has been non-operational since mid-July 2023. Despite this, workers, engineers, and administrators continue to report to work daily, and some families still live in the refinery’s barracks.

Established in 1997, the Khartoum Oil Refinery is the largest in Sudan, with a capacity of 100,000 barrels per day. It produces diesel, gasoline, and cooking gas, meeting 45% of the country’s oil needs.

The refinery is connected by a 1610-kilometer pipeline to the Bashayer port on the Red Sea for exports. It also receives crude oil from West Kordofan and South Sudan wells.

Image credit: Sudan tribune