Fluor provided design, engineering, procurement, and construction services to Pertamina, Indonesia’s oil company, for a 100,000-barrels-a-day petroleum refinery on the island of Java. The project increased the country’s industrial development and provided thousands of Indonesians with critical skills to accomplish construction.
The government of Indonesia tasked Pertamina, the government’s oil company, to build a grassroots refinery on the island of Java to reduce the country’s dependence on imported lube oils and asphalt. The government also wanted to increase Indonesia’s industrial development, expand the skills of its population, and improve the standard of living for the Indonesian people.
Although Java had a population of 90 million people, the great majority was farmers and had never seen a refinery, much less built one. However, the people, most of who worked in rice paddies, were highly motivated and wanted a better way of life.
A portion of the crude oil charged at the refinery would have to be imported because most of the local crude oils were not suitable to produce substantial quantities of lube oil base stock and asphalt. The refinery would have to produce various fuels to meet domestic demand for kerosene, automotive gas oil, diesel, asphalt, and industrial fuel oils.
Because the grassroots refinery was built on former rice lands with a high water table, site preparation and foundation design were major considerations.
Fluor provided design, engineering, procurement, and construction services to Pertamina for the 100,000 barrels-per-day refinery. Fluor was also responsible for the refinery’s offshore facilities, including a shipping pier to accommodate ships up to 3,000 dwt and a crude/product jetty at the crude oil terminal capable of simultaneously handling one tanker of 17,000 dead weight tons (dwt) and two with 35,000 dwt while loading and unloading.
Hundreds of local people would show up every day applying for work. Some were hired immediately as checkers, receiving clerks, and warehouse workers. Thousands of skilled craft workers were required to complete the project, but since the surrounding area was agricultural and skilled craftworkers were unavailable, Fluor implemented an extensive training program. To meet the worker demand on the refinery construction, Fluor developed one of the industry’s first apprenticeship training programs to use on the Cilacap project.
Fluor’s training programs covered administrative personnel as well as drafters, field engineers, helpers, carpenters, heavy equipment operators, welders, electricians, plumbers, and other crafts. Many of the trained Indonesian craft workers became instructors under the guidance of Fluor site managers.
To address concerns about flooding at the site, Fluor provided concrete-lined drainage systems and other control methods. Step-tapered steel piles filled with concrete were also used as supports for all major process equipment.
A modern refinery rose on the site of a former marsh along the Donan River west of Cilacap. A team of 4,000 skilled Indonesian craft workers and 98 Fluor expatriate managers and engineers brought the project to a successful conclusion. Five years later, the laborers who were trained on construction of the original refinery were hired to work on an expansion to triple production. The skilled workers that brought the original refinery on line continued to contribute to the nation’s industrialization. The years of Pertamina, Fluor, and the trained craft workers working together played no small part in achieving the expansion that made Cilacap, Java ready for the future.