Mr. R.K. Grover, director-projects, EIL said, “We had seamlessly integrated the project team of the owner and EIL to achieve this common objective. Complete cooperation from the client in responding to various requirements during project execution, last-minute procurement, resolving contractual issues etc. for meeting the project objectives was a huge enabling factor.”
The core project team comprised people experienced in fast-track project execution. The group formulated the project implementation methodology and presented it to the EIL and BORL managements. During execution, all the departments conducted periodic internal audits to ensure the company’s systems and procedures were followed for all deliverables.
At the project execution level, there were a large number of stakeholders. In all, a total of 1,000 purchase orders were raised and 80 contracts signed. To ensure all the teams were updated frequently, the project teams of BORL and EIL closely monitored the progress and cost of the project at fortnightly review meetings.
Communication was crucial for a large project with so many stakeholders. It was decided as a part of project procedure that all communication would be e-mail based for the various teams located at project ofﬁces in EIL Delhi, BORL ofﬁce in Mumbai and Bina, EIL site ofﬁce in Bina and the various vendors and contractors. The BORL and EIL teams also had access to video conferencing.
The project site had no basic infrastructure or major industry nearby, so there was a need to build facilities like approach roads, workers’ housing, skill development programs, health facilities and logistic support right at the start of the project.
The team had decided to maintain the natural terrain to the extent possible to reduce the site grading work. It nevertheless took a year to prepare the ground for plant construction work. The team utilized the natural level variations for process hydraulics to pump oil from one unit to the tanks for storage.
The other major challenge was the laying of a crude pipeline from across 935 km from where the crude oil is off-loaded in Gujarat to the
reﬁnery in Madhya Pradesh. The pipeline crosses ﬁve rivers.
The team had taken care to order all the big machinery much ahead of schedule to factor in any delay during fabrication, manufacture or transportation. But the reactors took around eight months to reach the site due to unusually heavy rainfall and ﬂ oods during monsoon. The team resorted to ‘crash purchase’ or fast ordering to make up for shortfall of material at the site. Contracts for civil/structural works were awarded much before than the start date to avoid delays. When the ﬁve reactors ﬁnally arrived, they were erected within just 11 days, against the scheduled four weeks.
Bina being a remote place, the company had to make elaborate arrangements to house the staff and construction workers. EIL built workers’ colonies, and organized emergency care and health check-ups, and treatment facilities. There were doctor visits at the worker’s colony every week and a standby ambulance every day at the site. EIL conducted regular checks to ensure contractors were not adopting unsafe construction practices, and addressed issues regarding health and safety in monthly meetings. In all, EIL conducted 180 safety audits. The results were visible: fewer accidents and two appreciations from BORL for achieving 10 million man-hours without any time lost due to accidents. EIL also constructed a post-natal ward in Bina town as a part of its corporate social responsibility initiative.
Lessons learnt from the project
Mr. Grover gives the credit for the excellence in project management largely to the processes in place at EIL. “EIL has a robust feedback system wherein inputs regarding project performance are taken from the project group according to a standard format. It is then analyzed by a committee consisting of senior personnel. Those ﬁndings and recommendations are recorded and utilized for future projects,” he explained.
The following are some of the lessons EIL learnt from the Bina Reﬁnery project
• Clients can be advised to take up the implementation of infrastructure facilities such as site grading, supply of service water, power for construction, approach roads, etc., as pre-project activities in order to get started with main construction work sooner.
• Keeping in mind the outbreak of diseases during the rainy season, the site should have workers’ colonies with basic amenities. This would keep the worker turnout good and productivity high throughout the project lifecycle.
• Advancing release of preliminary material for piping based on in-house information from earlier projects ensures faster procurement.
• Adopting engineering of structures and construction methodology with modular fabrication and assembly helps reduce time and improve safety standards.
• Erecting and welding huge structures on the site at high altitudes is not only time-consuming but also poses a huge risk to the lives of workers.
EIL has a legacy in reﬁnery construction, but Bina Reﬁ nery posed several challenges because of the unique complexities of its location and newer technologies being adopted. EIL surmounted these challenges with the able application of project management. By completing the state-of-the-art reﬁnery in 36 months, EIL has shown how owner-consultant alignment can go a long way in achieving excellence.