(EnergyAsia, June 30 2011, Friday) — Japan’s largest oil refiner, JX Nippon Oil & Energy, has restored the bulk of operations at its 252,000 b/d Kashima refinery that was affected by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Its 145,000 plant in Sendai, the worst hit of the company’s eight refineries, remains closed for repairs, and is expected to resume operations by mid-2012.

The company has restarted two crude distillation units at the 252,500 b/d Kashima refinery in eastern Japan, and has been accepting vessels with a capacity of up to 100,000 metric tonnes. VLCCs will be allowed back in once its berthing facilities are completed in the third quarter.

The plant had resumed truck delivery and receipt of oil products shortly after March 11.

The company is operating more than 60% of its total 1.63 million b/d refining capacity.