BP Refinery (Bulwer Island) Ltd.
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Queensland Clean Fuels

Fluor was one of several companies forming a unique alliance with BP, enabling it to play its part in the Southeast Queensland Regional Air Quality Strategy.

Fluor provided the conceptual design and worked in alliance with the licensee and BP on the front-end engineering for the hydrocracker for the project. The hydrocracker added hydrogen to heavier hydrocarbons to break the long organic chemical chains into the shorter chains of the transport fuels, separating out the sulphur impurities in the process. A hydrogen generation unit, an air separation unit, and a cogeneration unit were also installed. Modifications were made to the vacuum distillation, amine treating, sulphur recovery, existing crude distillation, and residue cracking units. Sulphur removed at the refinery was recycled as a raw material for other industries.

Client's Challenge

Southeast Queensland's population was growing at double the national average, and Brisbane had the greater potential of any other Australian city producing environmentally detrimental emissions in the 1990s.

As part of its worldwide “Clean Cities” program BP chose Brisbane as one of the 40 initial cities to produce clean fuels. The Bulwer Island Refinery expansion and Clean Fuels Project was to produce fuels with a low sulphur content.

Low-sulphur fuel helps improve local air quality by reducing diesel-fueled vehicles' exhaust smoke, sulphur dioxide emissions and odours. The project included the installation of the first hydrocracker in Australia.


Fluor's Solution

As part of the project alliance, Fluor called on the expertise and experience of its experts in Calgary, Canada, who had completed many similar hydrocrackers.

The alliance proved to be a great success: the parties worked together to modularise the construction and made plans early in the project for shipping and heavy lifting of the modules, installation, and commissioning. Fluor's offices in Melbourne and New Delhi also assisted with the design of the hydrocracker.


The result of the project was one of the world's fastest and safest at the time commissioning and start-up periods for a hydrocracker. BP's Clean Fuels project was recognized with the 2001 Australian Construction Achievement Award.