Learning Experience 2.2
BP Refinery Kwinana – Cleaner Production Initiatives
BP Refinery Kwinana has undertaken many cleaner production and environmental
improvements in accordance with company policy and its commitment to continual
environmental improvement. It has been particularly active in minimising water use, maximising
energy efficiency and greenhouse gas abatement, protecting ground and coastal waters, and
reducing volatile organic compounds (VOC) and other air emissions.
BP Refinery Kwinana was built in 1955 on the eastern shore of Cockburn Sound, approximately
40 km south of Perth in the Kwinana Industrial Area. Neighbouring industries include a variety of
mineral and chemical processing companies.
Crude oil is delivered by ships or trucks to BP Refinery Kwinana, where it is refined into a wide
range of products for distribution throughout WA, Australia and the world. These products
include LPG, petrol and diesel for motor vehicles; aviation gasoline, jet fuel and bitumen.
In accordance with BP's Health, Safety and Environmental Policy and its expectation of no
damage to the environment, the prevention of pollution arising from the refinery's operations is
of the highest priority. BP Refinery Kwinana is committed to continuous improvement with
regard to its environmental performance and the refinery has an environmental management
system certified to the International Standard ISO 14001. Key environmental goals stated in BP
Refinery Kwinana's Environmental Policy include:
• Protecting Cockburn Sound and water resources, including groundwater and scheme
• Reducing greenhouse emissions
• Reducing volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions
• Reducing other atmospheric emissions, including sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides
• Supplying clean fuels to help improve Perth's air quality, including supplying only lead-
free motor spirit.
Focus Area 1: WATER EFFICIENCY
BP Refinery Kwinana initiated a water reuse and minimisation programme in 1997 with three
main objectives: to minimise water use; to maximise water reuse in refinery processes, either
after or before treatment; and to substitute lower quality water in place of potable water where
The approach adopted involves four main steps, aimed to drive continuous improvement:
Step 1: Set targets for water use of the different water streams, for water recycling and for
the volume of water directed to the Waste Water Treatment Plant.
Step 2: Monitor performance against targets, including periodically conducting a detailed
site water balance.
Step 3: Report the performance against the targets set, and encourage participation of
the whole workforce in suggesting water minimization initiatives.
Step 4: Implement water minimisation projects.
An innovative aspect of the programme was approaching water management with a whole
refinery perspective. All areas were targeted in order to save as much water as possible. All
employees were encouraged to discuss and put forward ideas on water conservation, recycling
or reuse. Quarterly meetings are held within the refinery to discuss water minimisation and
performance against the targets that have been set.
In 2008 the refinery commissioned its largest project for water minimisation, which resulted in
tertiary treated water from the Kwinana Water Recycling Plant (KWRP) being substituted for all
potable water use in the Refining process. This is a significant investment which means that the
only potable water used at the refinery is for typical domestic purposes, such as drinking, toilet
facilities and showers. This represents an estimated reduction in potable water use of 1200 -
Previous initiatives have included:
• Recycling process water used in the Bypass Seal Pot of the Residue Cracker Unit’s CO
Burner. Operating conditions required 200-300 kL/day of water to prevent high flue gas
back pressure causing the Seal Pot to blow and consequently shutting the CO burner
down. Previously this overflow was directed to sewer. A head tank and recycling system
was installed, and pH and chloride testing was carried out to enable the operation to be
carried out under suitable conditions.
• A refinery-wide steam trap programme aimed at reducing steam leakage and improving
• Improved process water return where feasible eg. from cooling pumps. Previously half of
the total process water was not returned to the refinery.
• Modifications to operating procedures for Fremantle, Kewdale and black oil pipeline
pumps to minimise process water use.
• Maintenance on leaking 'fixed 'fire systems.
• A project to recover lubes condensate losses.
• Reuse of stripped sour water as wash water on the Crude Unit desalters. This wash water
is used to extract salts from crude oil to prevent corrosion and minimise catalyst use.
The water reuse and minimisation programme resulted in a decrease in total water usage from
7250 kL per day in 1996 to 4065 kL per day in 2007, and a decrease in potable water usage
from 6150 kL per day in 1996 to 2179 kL per day in 2007. The programme also provided
significant environmental benefits by reducing contaminant loads (eg oil loading decreased from
17kg/day in 1996 to 2.8kg/day in 2007) in the refinery's marine discharge, due to decreased
flows and source control (1996 -5258 m³/day; 2007 - 2620m³/day) to the wastewater treatment
The benefits from specific initiatives were:
Water minimisation initiative Benefit
Recycling: Residue Cracker Unit 50-150kL/day and cost savings
Steam trap programme Reduced leakage, improved condensate return
Black oil pipeline pumps Total water savings 90kL/day
Fixed fire system leaks Reduction of approximately 36kL/day
Reuse: Stripped Sour Water Process/total usage reduced 500-900kL/day
• The wastewater treatment plant has been in operation since 1994. In the first stage of the
treatment process the free oil is separated from the wastewater and sent back to the
refinery for reprocessing. The separated wastewater is pumped to an Equalisation Tank
where it is held and pH adjusted to the required conditions of the treatment plant.
• The second stage involves the removal of small suspended oil particles in the Dissolved
Air Flotation Unit by binding the small particles into larger ones so that they can float and
be skimmed off. Up to this stage the treatment process is covered to prevent Volatile
Organic Compound (VOC) emissions.
• The final stage involves the removal of dissolved contaminants and nutrients in the
Activated Sludge Units (ASUs), where biological breakdown occurs. The wastewater
then enters the clarifiers, where micro-organisms are settled before returning to the
ASUs. The wastewater is then directed to the polishing ponds, which are another special
feature of the treatment plant. Aerators aid the break down of any remaining organic
• Treated wastewater is discharged to Cockburn Sound under carefully controlled
conditions and to strict regulatory requirements. Average daily discharges would place
BP Refinery Kwinana as one of the best refineries in the world for wastewater quality.
• In 2009 the Refinery plans to commission a project which will divert all treated process
water from the current outfall into Cockburn Sound to the Sepia Depression Ocean
Outfall Line (SDOOL). The SDOOL line is directed further off the coast where there is
increased mixing and flushing.
Focus Area 2: ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND GREENHOUSE EMISSIONS
Following the signing of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 by many industrialised nations, climate
change and reducing greenhouse emissions became a major issue for BP and the world. BP
set a target in 1997 to reduce its global greenhouse gas emissions by 10% from a 1990
baseline over the period to 2010, exceeding the reduction agreed in 1997 by the industrialised
nations. BP reported in 2001 that the target had been achieved, and set a new target to
maintain net emissions at the 2001 levels until 2010, while continuing business growth.
BP Refinery Kwinana is part of the BP Australia Greenhouse Challenge which focuses on
improvement in such areas as energy efficiency, process efficiency, enhancement of carbon
sinks and the effective use of resources. In addition, BP Refinery Kwinana has implemented
both onsite and offsite initiatives to reduce greenhouse emissions. Offsite initiatives include tree
plantations, which have been occurring since 1998, delivering not only carbon sequestration but
additional benefits, such as salinity reduction, habitat conservation and socio-economic benefits
to rural communities. BP Refinery Kwinana's carbon sequestration project has achieved
recognition through being a finalist, runner up or winner of various environmental
awards. Various onsite initiatives to reduce greenhouse emissions have been implemented
since 1996. A number of these initiatives are summarised below:
• A 'no economic flaring' policy was introduced in 1997, with reductions in flaring achieved
by optimisation of plant throughputs and fuel gas usage, and increased fuel gas sales.
• A Cogeneration Plant was commissioned in 1996, in conjunction with Mission Energy
(now International Power), for the combined production of electricity and steam. This
plant provides 100% of the refinery's 40MW power needs, thereby eliminating the need
for electricity from the grid.
• Commissioning of the Cogeneration Plant reduced fuel gas usage as the refinery was
able to shut down the onsite steam boilers.
• A major study was completed in 1997 to identify areas for energy improvement through
to the year 2006.
• A steam trap management program was initiated to minimise steam energy losses.
• Catalytic Reformer furnace air system modifications were carried out to improve furnace
• Vacuum Distillation Unit modifications were carried out to increase efficiency and reduce
energy use and CO emissions per unit throughput. These included a more efficient
furnace and upgrades to the unit internals.
• Crude Distillation Unit 1 furnace was upgraded in March 2000 to improve its efficiency.
• A comprehensive Energy Strategy was developed as part of a long term plan to reduce
energy consumption and greenhouse emissions.
Significant savings have been achieved, in addition to reduced greenhouse gas emissions and
associated cost savings.
The benefits from specific initiatives were:
Energy/greenhouse initiative Benefit (annual CO2 reduction )
No economic flaring 16,600 tonnes
Steam boiler shutdown 73,000 tonnes
Steam trap programme Significant energy savings
Catalytic Reformer furnace Significant savings
Vacuum Distillation Unit Significant savings
Crude Distillation Unit 1 8,000 tonnes
BP Refinery – Kwinana Environmental Management
Environmental BP’s Objectives BP’s Action BP’s Specific Initiatives Benefits
Energy Efficiency and
The main idea of the paragraph is …
Describe how BP Refinery in Kwinana manages one of the major environmental concerns
caused by its operations.
Statement (Topic Sentence T.S.)
Explanation (Developing Sentence D.S.)
Examples (Supporting Sentence S.S.)
Conclusion (Concluding Sentence C.S.)