With an installed capacity of 12 million metric tonnes per annum (MMTPA), the Mumbai refinery of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) is an important contributor to the country's total oil production. So, when it came to upgrading the facility that dated back to 1955, BPCL decided to build a new plant altogether instead of shutting it down for a long period for the extensive revamping.
But that meant executing a large, complex project within the confines of a fully operational refinery. From conceptualization to finding space for the plant and associated facilities, the Crude Distillation Unit-4 (CDU-4) project was a testimony to using innovative methods to overcome the challenges.
The project was completed on 30 November 2015 at a cost of Rs.1,425 crore as against the estimated cost of Rs.1,458 crore, a full month ahead of schedule.
The project team, led by BPCL Mumbai refinery's executive director (projects) M. B. Pimpale, and general manager (projects – planning) L. Ravi, faced a host of challenges.
The space identified for the new plant encompassed the existing workshop complex, fire station and field engineering office. These had to be dismantled to make space for the new plant. The team decided to fully cover the nearby oil catcher to facilitate hot work and other activities during construction.
The challenges at the implementation stage were highly complex. The team devised innovative solutions for these: