Today we visited the Guwahati refinery that started operation in 1962. Cameras were not allowed so this post shall be mostly text and hopefully your imagination fills up the gap between my sharing and the actual happenings.
Guwahati refinery is 1 of the 10 refineries own by Indian Oil Corporation in India. It is the first public sector and supplies 1/3 of the oil demands of the country. I was surprised to know that India imports 75% of its oil despite it being the 7th largest in the world.
The engineer shared with us that despite IOC having small refineries, they are heavily into Research & Development and the advantage of being small gives the ability of performing trial and constantly improving before eventually implementing at mega-sized refineries. This allowed them to come up with novel solutions for the industry and improve their capabilities. This puts them at the 119th position in the Fortune Global 500 companies ranking.
Indian Oil Corporation invests 2% of their revenue in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) related projects and I would like to point out something that really intrigued me. One aspect of the company's none core business is to look into renewable energy such as wind, nuclear as well as solar related alternatives as Crude oil is a rapidly declining natural resources. Their R&D in solar panels are transformed into actual Solar lamps that are given to villages as part of their CSR program.
It is really interesting how they can close the loop of:
- Research and Development
- Corporate Social Responsibility
- future expansion (moving into non-crude related areas)
Somehow IOC managed to integrate them or rather intertwined all together where the advancement into drives the other and that advancement comes back to drive the original force. Ok it might sound a little meh but really, that's how i looked at it in my mind when I heard about their sharing.
One example that I managed to jot down is the example of toilet construction.
It was surveyed that a school without a toilet for the female students ended up with them heading home to answer Nature's call and not going back for classes. The CSR initiative by IOC to construct toilets resulted in the increase of attendance rate of the female students.
On hindsight, it would have made total sense that constructing the toilets was the way to go. However, without the strong efforts to have CSR-related project involvement and conducting baseline survey and understand the needs of the people, they would not have been able to truly resolve the issue faced by the female students.
We were also brought on a refinery tour and upon reflection, I see that the management has put great trust in us and took up the great risk of bringing us on a tour inside the heart of the refinery. I don't think there's ever a chance for me to visit our refinery back at home and this was a truly memorable experience.
Some really interesting observations from the refinery tour:
- process flow diagrams and procedures are displayed on various areas that serves and reminders and guiding tools for the workers of the refinery
- a catalytic converter or filter was installed on each bus's exhaust to prevent possible emission/fire risk during the tour
- There are fire exit signs and hydrants clearly visible throughout the refinery and that must have come from years of experience managing refineries across the country.
We were also treated to some snacks after the tour! omonomomonomonomon. Opps sorry for the poorly lit photo.
Our next stop was at Assam down town university where we were treated to Authentic Assam cuisine that is only available in the Northeast of India.
This is Rasgulla made from cottage cheese and dough and eaten with some yoghurt dressing! It's pretty unique and sweet (ok sweet is really an understatement cos all the desserts that we had so far are really sweet sweet)
The time spent at the university was a display of a variety of dance from the various tribes. I must say that we are very ashamed for being talentless when it comes to cultural related exchange. That's probably something that we can reflect and improve upon as a Youth of Singapore. ;)
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