Bharat Oman Refineries Limited (BORL) is a joint venture between Bharat Petroleum and Oman Oil Company, founded in 2011 as a highly innovative, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly refinery, Mahendra Pimpale was appointed the company’s Managing Director in July 2019.
A veteran of the petroleum industry, Mahendra had already been with BORL’s parent company Bharat Petroleum for 35 years, so he brought a great deal of practical experience to this relatively new role.
“Earlier in my career, I was with another joint venture refinery in India, where I worked to set up the refinery from grassroots. It gave me a great deal of experience in understanding how the industry works,” he says.
“I also spent two years working for an international petroleum company and, through that role, learned a great deal about working at an international level, which has been hugely helpful when communicating with the team from Oman Oil. All this experience of working within different aspects of the oil industry has helped me immensely in my role as Managing Director of BORL.”
Passionate and experienced within his industry, Mahendra recognised the unique position BORL was in and when he took on the Managing Director role, he knew that a big part of his job would be to leverage that advantage.
“Where the refinery is located, in Bina, there are no other refineries around and the area is a huge growth spot. Much more so than any other part of India,” he explains.
“So when I came on board, I had two goals in mind. First was to continue to strengthen our location advantages and the second was to build onto our story and success. BORL is a very young company; it was only commissioned in 2011, and so continuing to fine-tune our processes and procedures is an ongoing focus for us. Not only will it help the overall business, it will mean we can continue to respond to any opportunities quickly and efficiently.”
Where the refinery is located, in Bina, there are no other refineries around and the area is a huge growth spot.
As the global pandemic hit all businesses and every economy, the demand for diesel and petrol dropped dramatically. BORL was not exempt from this. The refinery’s production was reduced by 50% and Mahendra’s future plans for the company had to change.
“My plan for growing the business over the next three to five years was to move into petrochemical production and increase the capacity of the refinery,” he says. “The global pandemic has changed things hugely and so I’m still thinking about how best to approach what is ahead. We were eagerly looking forward to expansion, but we find ourselves living in a very different world.”
With future plans being reworked, Mahendra is instead focusing on spending the next 12–18 months making organisational improvements and motivating his employees. “When I became Managing Director, I knew that being a leader and inspiring my team would be my main job,” he reveals.
“If my workforce is motivated and inspired, then that’s fantastic. If I can give them both challenges and support, then 60% of my work is done. I want to be able to continually show them how much value they bring to the table.”
It’s a crowded marketplace for the team at BORL, but Mahendra sees a definitive point of difference between the organisation and its competitors. And as he looks to planning for the future of the business, it’s this competitive advantage he’s sure to leverage. “Being a JVC company gives us a competitive edge, as does our young workforce,” he says.
“We’re also a very lean company and operate with around 600 people, which makes us one of the lowest employee-driven companies in India. Our operating and manufacturing cost is one of the lowest in the country, and the location of our refinery alone gives BORL a unique strategic advantage, which is one I intend to strengthen.”
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