Maintenance and innovation

A constant drive for efficiency in production, energy and environmental

The Saras Group is constantly committed to improving its plant’s production, energy and environmental performance.  

In 2017, the Group invested € 128 million in plant maintenance and innovation

Investments in 2017 mainly concerned the refining sector, to improve production capacity and optimise processes.

Major investments include the Oxygen Enrichment system added to the Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit to improve operational flexibility, the replacement of the Expander, to generate electricity from heat recovery, and electrification of the gas compressors to reduce steam consumption.

The latter investments are part of a suite of actions designed to boost energy efficiency.

This strand includes the marked steam saving achieved through the energy integration of the Mild Hydro Cracking 2 and TAME units.

In the 2018 Environmental Statement you will find the full data on our investments in environmental and safety protection


At the Sarroch industrial site, major performance-improving maintenance works are scheduled on a rolling basis for each unit every five years. For each major maintenance project, the unit concerned is stopped completely, to allow workers to carry out the scheduled works. This is why, in industry jargon, major maintenance periods are known as maintenance ‘shutdowns’ or turnarounds.
In total, under the supervision of Sarlux personnel, on average around 1,000 technical workers from more than 50 contractors are involved in maintenance shutdowns.
Maintenance work is performed by specialist technicians who have built their expertise in the firms servicing the Sarroch industrial area. Most of the contractors’ personnel live in the province of Cagliari:
about 90 percent of the maintenance budget goes to local companies.


Sarlux has put in place strict procedures governing relationships with external contractors, to ensure that their personnel comply fully with Sarlux’s policies on safety, health and the environment.

Sarlux appreciates its contractors’ commitment to obtaining and maintaining certifications for their quality, environmental and safety management systems.

In 2017, 65.8% of our contractors were ISO 9001 certified

Before being allowed to carry out any type of work at the site, each contractor must be qualified, i.e., it must prove that it complies with its legal obligations in administrative, tax and insurance matters and that its operations protect health, safety and the environment both on the industrial site and outside it.

An essential element for any activity, be it civil works or sophisticated work on industrial equipment, is staff training and detailed briefings to contractors’ staff on the stringent safety procedures. Sarlux complies fully with all legal requirements, which include a series of procedures covering the entire day of shutdown, at times spanning 24 hours. In addition, the company has introduced additional safeguards and controls, such as the ‘safety license’, on-the-spot checks and observation of direct and indirect worker behaviour, according to the Behaviour Based Safety (BBS) model. This method is based on visual assessment of the way in which workers behave or act, including in the simplest and most routine actions. If the observation reveals errors or actions that might lead to unsafe behaviours, the worker receives a warning intended to correct the bad practice, in order to prevent any accident from occurring. During maintenance shutdowns, inspections, checks, information meetings and many other activities are stepped up, in a tight sequence that closely matches site activities.