Summer Internship at Hindustan Rajasthan Refinery Limited
Student experience 14th October 2022
Second year earth and planetary sciences student Sanya describes her experience in applying for and completing a summer internship.
It was the winter of 2021, while I was preparing for my Semester One examinations and at the same time planning my summer, I started to consider doing a summer internship. Being a student of the Sandwich Year program MEarthSci (Hons.) Earth Sciences with Industrial Experience, I was keen on gaining some official experience and practical skills in the field of sustainability in the construction and design of industrial projects. My specific focus was on the mechanisms and strategies adopted by industries in the developing countries where a multifactorial analysis is required to attain the balance involving the need to adhere to the government’s environmental norms, whilst generating large scale employment opportunities sustainably.
I shortlisted the top Indian companies where I could spend my summer productively and learn about the environmental impacts of industries. The company on top of my list was Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited, a leading Oil & Gas company in India. Its most recent joint venture with the Government of Rajasthan, HPCL Rajasthan Refinery Limited is the highest capital-intensive project in India spread out across approximately 20 million square meters. This project involves the establishment of a Greenfield 9 MMTPA Refinery cum Petrochemical Complex at Pachpadra in the Barmer district of Rajasthan. This opportunity also challenged me to train in an interior location with extreme logistical and climatic challenges. The temperatures would fluctuate from being 49 degrees Celsius during the day and 6 degrees Celsius at night.
In order to apply for an internship at HRRL, one has to draft an application letter with a detailed description of one’s previous experience, reasons for applying, and proposal for the topic of internship in the chosen field of interest. Exhibiting my passion for the subject, I included a brief description of the scientific and technical skills gained in school from participation in National Science Congresses and also reported the transferable interpersonal skills acquired while participating in volunteering, student representative, and dance society committees at The University. This was instrumental in portraying a well-rounded background of my personality and the evidence for understanding the essential elements of research and training from my experiences.
At the Internship
I spent two days in each department at the HRRL site-based Camp office. We analysed the steps taken to adhere to environmental compliance guidelines signed prior to the beginning of HRRL Refinery and Rajasthan Refinery Project CISF Township construction. Subsequently, I drafted a concise report of sixty-one pages about the Sustainability in Projects and Construction. This encompassed the various fields ranging from Energy and Resource Management to Environmental Social Commitment.
My typical day in the internship started with a briefing from my mentor about my schedule for the day which was followed by a seminar or a workshop session about the functioning of the refinery units. We especially focused on the environmental aspects related to treating the waste at the effluent treatment plants (ETP). Regulations were followed during the construction phase as a part of the Environmental Impact Assessment, and the technical aspects associated with the refinery’s township construction.
After lunch, I would go out in the field to assess the sites and understand the challenges behind project and construction management. There was a special emphasis on sustainability. This allowed the project to qualify for the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA), the Indian equivalent of Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM). The efforts to imbibe the local architecture and to adopt the vivid colours further add soul to the establishments. Moreover, I was highly motivated to see approximately 18,000 workmen at site braving the scorching desert sun and working relentlessly with utmost dedication. It gave me the inspiration to overcome obstacles and continue to work hard in spite of existing adversities.
After the Internship
This internship also provided me with the opportunity to network with professionals and experts in the petroleum industry providing an insight into the dynamics behind maintaining a balance between social and environmental responsibility while procuring profits for the company. The company replenished flora and fauna around the site, and carried out the remediation of ponds in the nearby villages. There was a real effort to enhance the welfare of the social communities by organising medical camps and building schools.
In the evenings, I explored local markets exhibiting craftwork from small villages that displayed beautifully regional art styles and rare craftmanship. The astonishing marble-carved temples located around the town reflected the deep roots of stone architecture and the vibrant culture highlighted the richness of the country’s heritage.
To put it in a nutshell, my summer training at HRRL empowered me to experience industrial work life equipped with practical techniques of analysing sites through the lens of environmental sustainability and also enlightened my social awareness and cultural knowledge about the country.