Why is this important?

Water is an essential resource in our operation, in both 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 of the 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, while our Petrobrazi Refinery and our CCPP Brazi use recycled water for various operational purposes. Our impact extends from the use of freshwater to the discharged water from our operations in Upstream and Downstream. Our potential impact on water resources affects both our communities and other local business.

Our commitment

OMV Petrom’s approach to water management is in line with the Group’s water framework that includes a Water Ambition Statement and a Water Strategy. This strategy is based on five strategic pillars: transparency, risks and opportunities, water efficiency and treatment, training and awareness.

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 internal 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 employee is responsible for minimizing the impact of our activities on water resources.
We measure

OMV Petrom monitors and reports water performance systematically and takes appropriate measures for all the relevant sites across the Company. We monitor the impact of our activities 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).

We act

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

Internal directives include Group HSSE Directive and Group Environmental Management Standard. OMV Petrom Group’s Environmental Management Standard supports our commitment to minimize our impact on the environment, including water resources impact.

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. Our Community Grievance Mechanisms enable communities to raise concerns about water-related issues such as contamination.

We check

The pollutant 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).

OMV Petrom’s water management activities pursue socially equitable water use. In our Human Rights Matrix, we commit to ensuring an adequate standard of living. This applies also to our suppliers that sign and commit to the Code of Conduct. OMV Petrom regularly carries out supplier audits to ensure compliance with our human rights requirements.

The EMS 14001 is regularly audited for surveillance / recertification.

We train

Water topic is addressed as part of periodical environmental training. For example, in 2021 we provided employees on operational sites with training on implementing the Response Plan in case of accidental water pollution.

We plan

Our Water Management Plans aim to allow sustainable long-term production with minimal effects on the environment and to mitigate the impact related to water withdrawal.

Our key actions on Water

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 World Wildlife Fund Water Risk WaterTool as well as own assessments, as required, to identify operations in areas facing the risk of water scarcity and water stress. In 2021 we conducted the water hazard assessment for the Upstream’s assets of Oltenia, Muntenia Vest, Moesia, and Moldova. The results are used as input for assessing the climate change-related water stress risk under EWRM.


In 2021, around 80% of the priority sites operated by OMV Petrom have completed water management plans, while for the remaining sites the development of plans was in progress. 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.


In 2021, in total we withdrew 56,000 ml of water, consisting of groundwater, surface water, water from public supply, sea water and produced water (2020: 59,362 ml). Out of the total water withdrawn in 2021, 5,348 ml was groundwater.


The Freshwater Withdrawal Intensity Index of OMV Petrom’s operations decreased by 6.83% in 2021 vs. 2020, based on a 17.6% decrease in Downstream Oil, a 13.46% decrease in Downstream Power Plants (CCPP Brazi, Petrom City Power Plant) and a 18.3% increase 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 Marketing, OMV Petrom Aviation and OMV Petrom Global Solution.


In 2021, our Upstream operations generated 39,460 ml of produced water (2020: 41,443 ml) – a by-product of oil and gas production. Following treatment, around 95% of it was reinjected in the underground. The rest of the produced water 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 2021, the monthly averages of TPH were 0.1mg/l which is well below the permitted limit (5mg/l). The total quantity of hydrocarbon discharged within the treated water of Crișana Asset was around 0.197kg in 2021.


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. 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 impact must be managed appropriately. To mitigate the impact related to water discharges we apply best practice in terms of wastewater treatment technologies (e.g., Petrobrazi Refinery and Asset Crișana). Measures to reduce or minimize the amount of water withdrawal include:

  • Water recirculation (e.g., at CCPP Brazi).
  • Replacement of water-cooling systems with air coolers (for example, the C3+ fraction recovery plant from Petromar); and the use of desalinated seawater rather than freshwater supplied by ships (offshore).
  • Closed system cooling water recirculation, as well as the use of air or glycol as a cooling agent instead of water at Asset Oltenia’s 2 Bustuchin Compressor Station.


Reduction of operational complexity, upgrade of equipment (boilers), maintenance of equipment to reduce water loss, and optimization of pipeline routes for water supply (drilled water wells near consumers).

Results (KPI, other indicators)

Full water-related data can be found in Performance in Detail – Environmental Performance section of this report.


2021 Upstream: We completed the modernization of the Tank farm Ghercești in Asset Oltenia with an investment of around EUR 1.5 mn. This project aimed at optimizing the oil treatment process and included installation of two new tanks. It is estimated for the water withdrawal to be reduced by around 38% due to this upgrade.

In addition, the environmental impact and risks were minimized, for example through implementing closed vapor recovery systems, ensuring a recovery over 95% of the released pollutant volatile organic compounds, and geomembrane in the tank’s bunds to prevent soil pollution. Likewise, the water losses issue of the old system was eliminated thus reducing the impact on water resources.

2021 Downstream: In Arpechim, in addition to continuing the modernization of the water supply network, a new water pump was installed at the Water Treatment Station Bradu, which enables water withdrawal to be adapted to the needs. Specific chemical dosing skid and online analyzers integrated in SCADA have been also installed in Water Treatment Plant.