Modernisation Project for Mažeikiai Plant Brought Together Experts from 2 Companies

November 28, 2022
In autumn 2021, the oil refining company Orlen Lietuva signed a contract with the international energy services company Petrofac Ltd regarding the modernisation of the deep conversion facility in Mažeikiai. Experts of TEC Industry help the foreign company localise the project. Donatas Čerkevičius, TEC Industry Business Development Manager, and Project Manager Vytenis Praninskas shared the some of the behind the scenes aspects of their work.


Poland Made a Historical Capital Investment in Lithuania

The implementation of the deep conversion facility modernisation project, which is worth more than half a billion euro, is gaining momentum in Mažeikiai. It is carried out by Petrofac Ltd from the United Kingdom together with TEC Industry as its partners in Lithuania.

The new oil processing (catalytic cracking) facility underway at the oil refinery of AB ORLEN Lietuva will enable to improve the oil refining process obtaining cleaner oil products. ‘The facility and its ancillary equipment and structures will be built on an open field, enabling Orlen Lietuva to turn high-sulphur fuel oil into more valuable oil products, increase performance and improve the company’s competitive advantage in the oil market by adjusting to the needs of the market participants and new pollution requirements.’ said Čerkevičius.

Being able to work with the international company of such size, required quite some effort on TEC Industry’s part. ‘We were well-acquainted with various aspects of this project, constantly monitoring the course of action, communicating with other participants of the project and putting all effort to join.’ said the TEC Industry Project Manager. He claims that the main task was to build a competent expert team and send them to Dubai in a relatively short time. ‘It was only a week between verbal agreements, or handshakes, so to speak, and sending the team abroad.’ he smiles. And, although the first visits of the team were rather complicated: ‘from safety issues of the Covid pandemic to the stock of work equipment… Eventually, the team spirit changed and the they grew to enjoy the experience. Our team members sometimes ask if we were going to visit some Petrofac office again, whether it was in Mumbai, Dubai, or somewhere else.’ shared Vytenis Praninskas.

Project Localisation and the Contribution of TEC Industry Experts

TEC Industry operates in Lithuania as a local project partner of the British Petrofac Ltd, offering comprehensive support during the project preparation. ‘We localise the project – explain the construction legislation, project requirements in force in Lithuania, introduce local construction specifics, locally-applicable regulations and rules, etc. In other words, we are Petrofac Ltd’s project partner in Lithuania.’ explained the Business Development Manager Donatas Čerkevičius.

Mažeikiai refinery modernisation project is an important part of the Lithuanian energy infrastructure and thus being taken care of a large team of professionals in their field. According to Čerkevičius, there are several hundreds of experts working on this project at the Petrofac Ltd office alone. ‘Quite a few of our staff members have also contributed to this project in some way. We communicate with our foreign colleagues remotely, engaging in discussions, consulting, and solving various issues. Combining Petrofac Ltd experience and know-how with the knowledge and professional work of the TEC team, we are striving towards the same goal – a successful completion of the project.’ Both companies started to work in December 2021 with the goal to submit the project for examination and obtain a construction permit by summer. ‘We managed to finish it all before deadline and now continue further.’ said the expert. The expected completion date is set by the end of 2024.

What makes this project special is not only its size and complexity, but also the variety of experts involved. ‘Before the beginning of this project, there were several colleagues that I’ve been working with remotely for several years. Today, this circle has grown to nearly 100 experts that we constantly communicate with coordinating issues, related to the project.’ says Praninskas.

Challenges Build Skills

Asked about the challenges that the team has to encounter, the Project Manager says that different stages of the project pose different problems: ‘As the Project Manager, I find it most difficult to find a compromise between the Builder (ORLEN Lietuva), the Contractor (Petrofac) and the Lithuanian legislation and regulations. Throughout the project, the team has been encountering various challenges, but I’m glad that we beat them.’ At the beginning of the project, the TEC team had a lot of issues with the time zone differences. ‘We worked at Petrofac office in the UAE, but had to communicate with one of their offices in India and Lithuanian experts, so time zone differences used to extend the normal working day by 3.5 hours and it was really stressful.

Another challenge, often encountered while working with international projects is coordinating details between several countries. ‘They don’t know the concepts of a ‘technical stage’ or a ‘working stage’ of a project, so trying to explain our partners what exactly must be provided in the project documentation and in what form was the greatest challenge.’ added TEC Industry Project Manager. Both he and his colleague are glad that the project has been fostering both professional and personal improvements among the team, building their English language, communication and time management skills.

TEC Industry belongs to TEC company group, which also includes TEC Infrastructure and TEC Consulting. The companies offer design, consulting, technical maintenance, project and construction management, and other engineering services for transport infrastructure, industrial and energy facilities.