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New site created at breakneck speed

  • 12,000,000 cubic metres of sand dredged
  • 600 hectares of land, ready for use
  • 300 hectares of dynamic compaction
  • completion within 1 year

Once in operation, the Dos Bocas refinery will process some 340,000 barrels of crude oil per day. This will make Mexico self-sufficient in refined petroleum products and will enhance the country's independence. Van Oord was the main contractor for the construction of the site on which the refinery is being built. 

Incredibly fast start

Only 9 days after the signing of the contract, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador kicked off the project on 2 June 2019. A day later, work started and in the spring of 2020, within one year, the 600-hectare site that will eventually house an oil refinery was completed. This tight deadline was achieved thanks to the efforts of a highly experienced team and Van Oord's expertise in dredging and consolidation.


‘For the first time in 40 years, a new refinery is being built in Mexico. A project of great importance to 120 million Mexicans. We are very happy and satisfied with the work that Van Oord performs.’

Norma Rocío Nahle García, Energy Minister of Mexico

Leading role for self-propelled cutter suction dredger Athena

Cutter suction dredger Athena, one of the largest and youngest cutter suction dredgers in Van Oord's fleet, extracted a total of 12 million cubic metres of sand for the site reclamation. The experienced crew pulled out all the stops to achieve optimal production. Maintenance and repairs were carried out only if weather conditions temporarily made dredging impossible. The crew of the cutter suction dredger are regularly trained in Van Oord's own simulator centre. Thanks to the real-time external view of the activities, these trainings sessions are very realistic and valuable.


‘We were doing this reclamation project together with a Mexican partner Grupo Huerta Madre S.A.P.I. de C.V., which was responsible for demolition work and earthmoving on the existing sites. Subsequently, we were able to start work and deposit the extracted sand.’

Jurgen Nieuwenhoven, Van Oord's Regional Manager
Jurgen Nieuwenhoven, Van Oord's Regional Manager

Compaction technology

In order to make the site ready for construction after the reclamation, dynamic compaction was applied in cooperation with subsidiary Wicks. This technique involves a crane dropping a falling weight of 24 tonnes to the ground, which compacts the soil layer in a short period of time and makes it ready for construction more rapidly. Cranes from all over the world were transported to Dos Bocas to get the work done on time. Only then could the construction of the refinery start according to plan.


Proud of performance

'Thanks to the fact that I had the possibility to take part in the tender process, I knew that this project would be a heck of a job’, says Project Manager Marcel Grethe. ‘We knew from similar projects that the execution period of one year was tight, so we had to work like the devil. But now we and our team are looking back on a splendid project with great challenges and good results.’