About the Refinery-
The Jamnagar Refinery is quite well-known in the oil and gas business circles. The 29-million tonne crude oil throughput refinery was first commissioned in 1999 and with an aggregate capacity of 1.24 million barrels of oil per day, it is the biggest oil refining hub in the world. It was created in a record time of less than three years, with help from a workforce of over 75,000, who put in millions of engineering man-hours. The titanic project involved thousands of tonnes in equipment and material, procured from leading suppliers across the globe; highly advanced construction equipment of unbelievable sizes and project management expertise of Reliance acquired over the past several years.
Nita Ambani’s Contribution for Jamnagar-
Now, for a mammoth industrial workplace such as this one, there would have to be a large number of workers to run the show, who’d have to stay nearby for convenience. This is where Nita Ambani, who leads Reliance Foundation, took over. Her husband, Mukesh, with his father’s backing, enlisted her help to build a company township for the staff working there. It was the very first project on such an enormous scale that she had undertaken. In her own words, the offer made her nervous. “I had zero experience”, she once said during an interview but she was motivated by the challenge of creating an oasis in an arid zone.
Everyday Routine and Setbacks-
Over the next three years, her routine involved biweekly commute to the complex. “It was a punishing schedule. I was the only woman there and everyone called me ‘sir’,” she recalls. There were plenty of setbacks that had to be overcome, the most troublesome of them being cyclones in the area. But that didn’t deter her. “Reliance is an execution machine. There are daily targets, and deadlines are sacrosanct”. That was the motto that was set in her mind.
Improving the Green Cover of the Area-
Nita Ambani also helped increase the green cover of the entire area around the township. The lands neighboring the staff colony was once barren, with little to no tree cover. It was there that Nita decided to plant more than 100,000 mango trees. It is well known that people in her close circles receive the best mangoes from that plantation with a card that simply reads “Enjoy”. Furthermore, those trees even became home to many thousands of varieties of birds.
Today the Jamnagar complex boasts a well-planned, tree-lined township for its 17,000 residents. Sprawling over 415 acres of land, the township has been designed to provide the best possible residential, educational and recreational facilities to the employees. The township includes fully furnished housing for the employees, as well as a medical center, school, playgrounds, temple, community centers, health centers, banks, mall/supermarket, gas station, parks, swimming pool, golf course and tennis courts etc. This area, if overlaid on Mumbai or London, would cover more than one-third of either city’s landmass.
This project, which was Nita Ambani’s first major success under her belt, showcased her ability to handle the biggest of pressures that an industrial sector could throw. She has accomplished more, maybe even more recognizable achievements than this one. But her first success ought to be remembered, as fondly as the rest of them are.