People and projects from around the PETROFAC world



The heart of the plant

The heart of the plant

Project Engineer Roula Borgi and Engineer Arun Kumar found themselves in northern Italy at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak in the country. They were reviewing the assembly progress of the boiler module, often described as the heart of the plant, which was fabricated in northern Milan and assembled in Venice where it could be easily transported to port for shipping to Oman.

“It was a critical time in the manufacturing period,” explains Roula.

“When the lockdown happened we had almost all the components completed, 90% delivered to the vendor, and they were in the middle of assembling.”

Arun and Roula made it to the airport just in time before the country went into lockdown and in the end, the crisis didn’t cause as much disruption as they feared.

“We have followed a modular concept for the three identical boilers – all components such as pressure parts, interconnecting piping, structural steel, instruments and cabling are prefabricated and assembled at the vendor’s workshop,” explains Arun. “It’s called a Plug and Play module since the module is ready for commissioning as soon as installed.”

“The reason why the project management chose a modularised option was to meet our milestones and try to mitigate any unpredictable issues or changes that can occur during execution, Covid-19 proved our selection was correct,” says Roula.

When Arun and Roula spoke to Petrofacts, the package was safely on the vessel in the middle of the Red Sea and would soon arrive at site. They have worked closely with each other since the beginning of the project, with Roula handling the execution of the orders for the project, and Arun involved in the detail engineering, fabrication and testing.


”Undignihil moluptae plabo atiunt lanis quidel iuscius ciisque.”



Roula Borgi

Module big block
Boiler package

We explore the different components and parts that make up the package.
Click on the crosses for more information.

The 98 tonnes economiser allows us to save energy by using the exhaust gases from the boiler to preheat the cold water used to fill it.

A 22 m long single piece stack and enormous ducts, through which air and exhaust gases circulate, have been manufactured in a local vendor in Oman.

Boiler package
The boilers produce steam for the drives and other process requirements in the refinery and will work at full capacity when the refinery is under shutdown. The boilers will be fired using natural gas under normal operation.

Module big block
The module is made of a 298 tonnes boiler block, 120 tonnes of structural steel, 40 tonnes of piping, 5 tonnes of electrical and instrumentation components. More than 200 valves and 3 km of cables have been installed.

These were also manufactured in Oman.

Each boiler has a capacity to produce 170 tonnes per hour of steam. The Plug and Play module itself is 23.5 m in length, 13.5 m in width, 16.5 m in height and weighs 510 tonnes.

Each boiler has two fans that will blow the air required for combustion, one motor driven and the other turbine driven. Fans were manufactured and assembled in Italy with motors coming from Germany and turbines from USA.

Anatomy of a boiler

“The vendor is an experienced vendor and always ready to challenge you,” says Roula. “Sometimes a contract can be subject to different interpretations. So, we had this especially during the engineering stage. I started working on the package from bidding stage and understood well all the contractual requirements and the project specifications which allowed me to challenge the vendor.”

“I had to coordinate with other disciplines as well, mainly instrumentation and civil,” adds Arun. “Our design documents had to go through several iterations, we had multiple meetings with the vendor and construction. Every discipline had their own deadlines to match their own deliverables, so our job was to find the midpoint between our deadline and their deadline, and give them the necessary inputs.”

“We owe the success of this package to everyone in the project team who were cooperative and supportive. Credit goes especially to Ismail Umar Basha who handled the work and coordination in our Chennai office and Rajendran Natchimuthu who managed the quality control for this package,” they both add.

Roula and Arun started out in their careers at Petrofac in the graduate programme – Roula four years ago and Arun seven years ago. What’s clear is their desire to continue learning.

“This is like a mini project for me as it has a lot of interface from engineering, procurement to logistics – it is the first time our company has delivered such a complex modularised package and I am proud to have handled it,” says Roula.

“I’ve enjoyed going through the entire process from seeing it in documents to a physical product,” adds Arun. “I’ve been lucky enough to go and witness testing. I think it’s something that every graduate should experience – going through the process from scratch.”

Arun Kumar

big block.jpg
Windbox and burners.jpg
Economizers .jpg

In pictures

The boiler package is made up of different components and parts

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