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A Systematic Exit

A Mammoth Task: The Complete Dismantling of a Refinery

| Author / Editor: Dr. Karl Noé* / Anke Geipel-Kern

Industrial history (in the meantime): the Ingolstadt refinery
Industrial history (in the meantime): the Ingolstadt refinery (Source: Dietmar Strauß / Besigheim)

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Against the backdrop of the restructuring of its refining capacities, mineral oil companies are often anticipating a mammoth task: the complete dismantling of a production site. The fact that a sustainable and economically viable concept for a site conversion can be successfully implemented is exemplified by the dismantling of the Ingolstadt Refinery — a pioneering project

It is an impressive sight to drive past a refinery at night: thousands of lights radiate from giant columns, from kilometer-long pipelines, from chimneys, cooling towers, gas flares, many equipment and huge tank fields which bears witness to the dimensions of the oil-refinery industry. For more than 40 years, this imposing skyline has shaped the landscape at the edge of the southern German city of Ingolstadt.

Although, less than eight years from now none of it will exist anymore. The site has been completely demolished, is today new and no less spectacularly built. This result had probably not been expected at such a record speed, when Bayernoil in the mid-2000s, as the result of a corporation analysis, decided to restructure its refinery network on the Danube plain.

Long-term Preliminary Planning — More Options

The refinery was planned to be in operation until 2008, to be decommissioned, and the gradual phase-out of the Ingolstadt site should have then begun. However, the announcement of the planned decommissioning of the 108 ha area, located on the edge of the prospering city, immediately aroused curiosity and sparked, earlier than expected, the discussion of future use.

The three-year planning period leading to the decommissioning had now provided Bayernoil a decisive advantage: the company could actively organize the discussion from the outset, thus staggering the organizing and scheduling of the marketing, the reconstruction, and the remediation in such a way that the sale of the first partial area could then provide the available funds for the dismantling, remediation and the clearance operations for the remaining areas.

Arcadis, a planning and consulting company, proved to be a partner which brought the corresponding know-how for all necessary services regarding contaminated site investigation and remediation, decommissioning, as well as real estate development and marketing.

In this configuration, the marketing of the vacant land was expediently managed, since the future use had been relevantly determined based on the applicable remediation strategy. The planners, consultants, experts, and project managers were quickly inquired, as the 20 ha of the refinery land had subsequently found re-use in such a short time. The city of Ingolstadt immediately needed a suitable national league stadium for its upcoming football club.

On short notice, a remediation plan was developed for the area, the site was completely demolished within a mere 1.5 years, remediated accordingly, and the ball got rolling as early as July 2010. All other areas were sold, and after appropriate remediation, a sensible subsequent use was planned: a business park for local companies and an innovation campus for automotive research and development.

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