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.