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Environment industries archive


Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

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,  energy efficiency and greenhouse gas abatement, protecting ground and coastal waters, and reducing VOC and other air emissions.


Oil tanker

BP Refinery Kwinana was built in 1955 on the eastern shore of Cockburn Sound, approximately 30 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 to BP Refinery Kwinana, where it is refined into a wide range of products for distribution throughout WA. These products include LPG, petrol and diesel for motor vehicles; aviation gasoline and jet fuel; lubricating oils 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:

Oil spill boom


A wide range of processes and activities related to oil refining, storage and distribution are carried out at BP Refinery Kwinana. An outline of these processes and activities is provided below:

The Refinery uses a number of different water streams for a variety of different purposes. 

Cleaner production initiatives

Various initiatives have been implemented under the broad headings of energy, materials and water efficiency

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 use low quality water (bore water) in place of potable water where practical.

The approach adopted involved four main steps: Step one involved a detailed analysis of the costs of wastewater treatment at the wastewater treatment plant; step two involved the development of a detailed water balance; step three involved the setting of targets for potable water usage, bore water usage, total water usage, flow to the wastewater treatment plant, water efficiency and percentage of condensate returned to the Refinery systems. Step four involved examining all areas in the Refinery to determine where low quality water could be substituted for high quality water, and identifying areas where process usage could be reduced and returns increased.

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. Monthly meetings were held within the Refinery to discuss water minimisation. Initiatives included:

Energy efficiency and greenhouse emissions:

Following the signing of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, climate change and reducing greenhouse emissions became a major issue for BP and the world. BP has set a target of reducing its global greenhouse gas emissions by 10% from a 1990 baseline over the period to 2010, exceeding the reduction then agreed in 1997 by the industrialised nations. BP has committed to developing an internal emissions trading scheme. 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 plantation, salinity reduction and habitat conservation projects with social as well as environmental benefits. 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:

Catalytic reformer furnace and the East flare

Catalytic reformer furnace and the East flare

Other initiatives


Wastewater treatment plant

Wastewater treatment plant


In 1995 BP started a VOC reduction programme with the aim of reducing emissions to one quarter of 1994 levels by the end of 1998, based on capital investment in best available technology and improvements in process design. Initiatives included:

The programme target was met, with an 81% reduction in VOC emissions achieved by the end of 2000. Further initiatives are planned to decrease VOC emissions.


The main source of small airborne particulates is the Residue Cracking Unit. Coke forms on the catalyst in the RCU, which fouls the refining process. The waste gases generated during the removal of the coke are discharged through the RCU stacks. However due to the high velocities and temperatures of the waste gas, particulates become entrained in the gas flow. To reduce particulates emissions, cyclones were installed on the RCU's stacks. These create a centrifugal force that physically separates the particulates from the gas, thereby allowing the particulates to be reused. Additional cyclones are planned to further reduce particulate emissions.

Other atmospheric emissions

The Refinery has introduced many new processes to reduce its sulphur dioxide emissions, including the Sulphur Recovery units and other processes described above. Hydrogen sulphides and nitrogen oxides have been reduced as described in the process section above.

Soil and groundwater

BP Refinery Kwinana has developed a Subsurface Oil Strategy consisting of the following:

rotary hoe

Landfarming of oily waste using rotary hoe


The various initiatives have resulted in significant financial and environmental benefits as detailed below:

Water consumption

The water reuse and minimisation programme resulted in a decrease in total water usage from 7250 kL per day in 1996 to 5640 kL per day in 1999, and a decrease in potable water usage from 6150 kL per day in 1996 to 1833 kL per day in 1999. The programme also provided significant environmental benefits by reducing contaminant loads (eg oil loading decreased from 17kg/day in 1996 to 1kg/day in 1999) in the Refinery's marine discharge, due to decreased flows (1996 -5258 m/day; 1999 - 3894m/day) to the wastewater treatment plant.

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
Alky Cooling Tower Potable water usage reduced up to 500kL/day
Black oil pipeline pumps Total water savings 90kL/day
Fixed fire system leaks Reduction of approximately 36kL/day
Reducing hydrocarbon spills Process water reduced by 200kL/day
Reuse: Stripped Sour Water Process/total usage reduced 500-900kL/day

Another significant environmental benefit was that, by the Refinery significantly reducing potable water use, the load on this vital resource was reduced.


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 CO reduction )
No economic flaring  16,600 tonnes
Cogeneration plant  137,000 tonnes
Steam boiler shutdown  33,000 tonnes
Steam trap programme  Significant energy savings 
 Package boiler  12,000 tonnes
 Catalytic Reformer furnace  Significant savings
 Vacuum Distillation Unit  Significant savings
 Crude Distillation Unit 1  8,000 tonnes

Other initiatives

All of the initiatives implemented have resulted in environmental, compliance, economic and reputational benefits. Combined with the water and greenhouse initiatives the Refinery's public 'licence to operate' has been enhanced, in addition to improved operational  and economic efficiency.

The first Minalk Unit resulted in the 3kg/day discharge of copper being eliminated and the second Minalk Unit reduced the discharge of phenolics by 106 kg/day. As both of these units use lower strength caustic than previously; this has resulted in the use of 35% less caustic and significant cost savings as well as environmental benefits.

VOC emissions experienced an 81% reduction by the end of 2000, in addition to environmental and compliance benefits. Sulphur dioxide emissions have been reduced by approximately 80% since 1985.

Cleaner production incentives

In addition to BP Refinery Kwinana's  commitment to environmental improvement, these initiatives have been driven by cost, efficiency, regulatory and corporate compliance considerations.


No significant barriers were encountered in implementing these initiatives, other than the challenges of initiating new processes and ensuring that they are economical.


Rod Lukatelich
Environmental Manager
BP Refinery Kwinana
PO Box 2131
Rockingham WA 6168
Ph: 61 8 9419 9483
Fax: 61 8 9419 9836
Web site:   (BP Worldwide) (BP Australia)
Date of implementation: 1997-2001.
Date of further initiatives: Ongoing.
Case study prepared: June 2001 by Centre of Excellence in Cleaner Production, Curtin University of Technology
Date last modified: June 2001.