Our water management activities’ key goals are to reduce water consumption, utilize water resources efficiently and treat wastewater appropriately.


OMV Petrom uses water for its operations in Upstream and Downstream. Freshwater is used, for example, for drilling, steam generation, and cooling, among other processes. Smaller amounts of water are also used for non-industrial purposes. Some water used in operations is recycled back for reinjection to pressurize hydrocarbon reservoirs to optimize the extraction rate. Desalinated water is used in offshore operations. Our Petrobrazi refinery and Combined Cycle Power Plant Brazi also use recycled water for various operational purposes.

Our impact on water resources is material to stakeholders as follows:

► Government authorities (regulatory and river basin management authorities): compliance with water use rules and environmental parameters relating to discharged wastewater.

► Local communities: sharing of local water resources and the quality of discharged wastewater.

► NGOs/NPOs: environmental protection and water resource conservation.

► Local water utilities: supply of freshwater (for OMV Petrom’s operations) and treatment of wastewater.

Local regulatory and river basin authorities are involved to ensure that OMV Petrom is compliant with local environmental regulations and has obtained all the required permits, both for water withdrawal, use and discharge. In the case of new construction sites, we follow the regulatory EIA process (Environmental Impact Assessment), which requires public consultation with stakeholders on environmental topics, including water.


OMV Petrom water management activities pursue socially equitable water use. In our Human Rights Matrix, we commit to ensuring an adequate standard of living, including access to water and food for our employees and contractors working for OMV Petrom. This applies not only to our operations, but also to our suppliers that sign and commit to following the Code of Conduct. OMV Petrom regularly carries out supplier audits to ensure compliance with our human rights requirements.


OMV Petrom’s approach to water management is in line with OMV’s water framework that includes a Water Ambition Statement and a Water Strategy (currently under review).

OMV’s Group-wide Water Strategy is based on five strategic pillars:

► Transparency

► Risks and opportunities

► Water efficiency and treatment

► Training and awareness

► Stakeholder engagement

OMV Petrom adheres to the requirements laid down in local legislation when setting standards for effluent discharge quality. The OMV Petrom Group Environmental Management Standard requires all activities to minimize the impact of effluents on the environment and local communities and outlines specific requirements for wastewater discharge onshore and offshore. The direct discharge of wastewater on land, in wetlands, or in other bodies of water without prior treatment is not permitted.

Water Ambition Statement

► We respect water as a precious limited resource and focus on its sustainable use.

► We are committed to meeting all applicable legislative requirements or our OMV regulations – whichever is more stringent.

► Water management is a key component of our social license to operate. We cooperate with local communities and prove to be responsible partners.

► We are committed to transparency when it comes to our impact on water resources.

► Every OMV employee is responsible for minimizing the impact of our activities on water resources.

SDG 6,Targets: 6.1 By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all; 6.3 By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally;

6.4 By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity.

The standard furthermore stipulates that no discharge may alter or diminish the value of the receiving environment. All discharges must be systematically monitored, and any environmental impacts must be managed appropriately. We monitor the impact of our activities (pollutant levels) on both groundwater and surface waters. This is performed on a case-by-case basis, according to specific requirements in the environmental permits and in the water permits of the working points. The main indicator tested is Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH). Monitoring is done annually or twice per year, depending on permit requirements. The pollutants concentrations (including oil concentration) in the treated waters discharged to natural waters are measured and monitored as set in the environmental permit and the water permit in line with water legislation (in Romania, NTPA 001/2002 – Norms regarding the Maximum Allowable Discharge Concentrations for pollutants in municipal and industrial wastewaters discharged into natural waters).

Water Risk Assessment

High-level water risk assessments are conducted for all the relevant sites. We use international tools and indexes, such as Verisk Maplecroft’s “Water Stress Index” complemented by the World Resources Institute’s (WRI) Aqueduct “Baseline Water Stress” index and World Wild Fund Tool, as well as own assessments, as required, to identify operations in areas affected by water scarcity and water stress.


In 2020, we continued to evaluate the water risk at Arpechim Terminal in Downstream Oil and Asset Muntenia in Upstream, in addition to those finalized in 2019 (Petrobrazi, CCPP Brazi and Asset Crișana). The water risk assessment was performed by using an international methodology developed by the World Wildlife Fund. Both river basin data and industrial activity data were analyzed. The evaluation took into account physical criteria, including water scarcity, as well as compliance and reputational aspects. Given that some regions where we operate have already experienced water stress in dry years and that a further decline in water availability is expected, mainly due to climate change, we continue implementing measures for efficient water use. Results of these water risk assessments are used as input for assessing the climate change-related water stress risk under EWRM.


Operating facilities located in places that are affected or are likely to be affected by water issues and operations utilizing significant water resources are prioritized when developing and implementing water management plans, including location-specific action plans. The Water Management Plans aim to allow sustainable long-term production with minimal effects on the environment. Around 80% of OMV Petrom’s priority sites have completed water management plans, with the development of plans in progress at the remaining sites.

Water performance

OMV Petrom regularly monitors and reports water performance systematically and takes appropriate measures for all the relevant sites across the Company. In 2020, in total we withdrew 59,362 megalitres of water, consisting of groundwater, surface water, water from public supply, seawater and produced water (2019: 17,930 megalitres, not included produced water). Out of the total water withdrawn in 2020, about 5,700 megalitres was groundwater and around 1% was from areas with water stress. The scope of Freshwater Withdrawal of OMV Petrom’s operations covers all operated assets and those with more than 50% stake, excluding filling stations, for which the process of data reporting is under development.


The Freshwater Withdrawal Intensity Index of OMV Petrom’s operations decreased by 0.16% in 2020 vs. 2019, based on a 4.4% increase in Downstream Oil, a 3.5% decrease in Downstream Power Plants (CCPP Brazi, Petrom City Power Plant) and a 6.8% decrease in Upstream. The scope of Freshwater Withdrawal Intensity Index of OMV Petrom’s operations covers all operated assets and those with more than 50% stake, excluding OMV Petrom Retail, OMV Petrom Aviation and OMV Petrom Global Solution.


In 2020, our Upstream operations generated 41,443 megalitres of produced water (2019: 43,200 megalitres) – a by-product of oil and gas production.

See more in “Peformance in detail

Responsible water management at Asset Oltenia in Upstream and Arpechim Terminal in Downstream Oil – minimized impact on water resources

In Upstream, at Oltenia Asset, we achieved a significant improvement in water use efficiency. The freshwater withdrawal intensity decreased by 37% in 2020 versus 2019. This performance was driven by two new facilities finalized in 2019 (Centralized Hydrocarbon Dewpoint Plant and End Gas Compression Station at Hurezani) and one new facility finalized in 2020 (New Compressor Station 2 at Bustuchin). These new facilities use air/glycol cooling and they replaced the old ones, which used water-cooling.

In Downstream, at Arpechim we reduced the freshwater withdrawal by 31% in 2020 versus 2019 due to continued measures to optimize the pre-treated water distribution system and the firewater system at Arpechim Old Bradu. Also important for this performance was the management decision for discontinuing the operation of the water pumps, with buffer water tanks being used during nights.

SDG 6 Target: 6.4 By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity.

Following treatment, around 95% of it was reinjected in the underground. The remainder was treated and discharged into surface water bodies, in accordance with the provisions of our environmental permits.


The vast majority of formation water treated and discharged to surface water comes from Asset Crișana in Upstream. This water resulting from the crude oil extraction process is treated in the state-of-the-art water treatment plant at Suplacu de Barcău. The plant is fitted with physical, chemical, and biological treatment units, and with an activated carbon filtration system for water polishing before discharge into Barcău River. The treated water discharges are monitored daily for various indicators as required by the Water Permit in line with NTPA 001/2002, including TPH (Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons). In 2020, the monthly averages of TPH were 0.1 mg/l which is well below the permitted limit (5 mg/l). The total quantity of hydrocarbon discharged within the treated water of Crișana Asset was around 0.205 t in 2020.