Why is this important?
In the Oil and Gas industry, oil spills are a critical environmental issue, potential impacts including breaches of environmental regulations, health and safety issues and environmental damage, as well as direct financial losses for shareholders due to the remediation costs and reputational risk. Improvement of our spill prevention and control measures is mandatory to minimize our potential impact.
HSSE – Health, Safety, Security, and protection of the Environment have the highest priority in all activities. We aim at preventing spills and appropriately managing the response in case of occurrence.
Major spills, minor releases, and quantities spilled are all monitored. In order to prevent and reduce oil spills and leakages in our operations at sea as well as on land, appropriate spill prevention and control plans have been implemented.
To protect human health and property, we immediately intervene in case of severe incidents generating spills. The OMV Petrom’s Environmental Management Standard requires that spills of substances harmful to the environment must be prevented and appropriately managed if they occur, by assessing and cleaned up immediately after their occurrence. Actions are taken to remediate all spills and to prevent reoccurrences. We repair leaks in a timely manner, while effective clean-up and remedial measures are employed to ensure that the impacted land is further suitable for its initial intended use. Any grievances including those related to spills are handled in a rigorous manner. See our Grievance Mechanism section under Business Principles and Economic Impacts.
Following containment, surface clean-up and emergency management, remediation measures are carried out in accordance with applicable legal requirements including further clean-up, restoration, rehabilitation, management of environmental receptors by case, while natural attenuation remains an alternative if agreed with environmental authorities. Potential liabilities related to spills including cleaning and remediation costs are covered by provisions made in our accounts.
To ensure a successful oil spill response, we are backed up by international specialized service providers in case large oil spills occur offshore, events which require considerable equipment and expertise.
Spill prevention verification activities are presented in our Process Safety chapter in this report.
As part of our efforts to respond to oil spills and reduce their environmental impact, we continued to conduct emergency drills, including pollution scenarios, and assigned employees receive training on our Pollution Prevention Plan.
To assist personnel at our sites, appropriate spill prevention and control plans for specific business conditions are in place. These plans specify clearly defined responsibilities and actions required to stop and contain the spill and to mitigate its effects. Techniques for preventing the spill from further spreading, as well as collecting the spilled substance and contaminated material, are also included in the spill prevention and control plans. Protocols for clear communication and coordination are outlined in the local plans, particularly where national or international response resources may be required.
As a result of an offshore oil spill prevention and contingency plan, the response strategy aims to reduce the probability of oil spill risks and maximize readiness to provide timely remediation measures in the unlikely event of an oil spill.
In 2022, we recorded one major hydrocarbon spills (2021: two major hydrocarbon spills). A total of 2,196 minor releases occurred in 2022 (2,140 minor releases occurred in 2021). Total hydrocarbon spillage was 224,206 l (2021: 48,761 l).
The major spill occurred in E&P due to pipeline integrity failure and intervention actions are provided below.
The level 3 hydrocarbon spill occurred in Asset Moldova, Tașbuga Area, between July 7th and 11th. An oil-water mixture spill was an event in the Tașbuga mountainous area, 600 m downhill from a partially buried pumping pipeline connecting Park Tașbuga to Tank Farm Albotești, belonging to production sector Moinești. The Loss of Primary Containment (LOPC) event lasted for 84 hours, when the pumping was stopped. Instrument readings and calculations estimated that we lost 198 m3 crude oil and 270 m3 produced water.
Pipeline operating pressure was approximately 1.5 bars. The oil spill extended downhill through the forest, via a concrete ditch and continued for another approximately 300 m to a fluid collection point, several days after spill occurrence, triggered by heavy rain. The estimated affected area is more than 4,000 m2, underground in the sandstones and above ground along the ditch. The spill was identified late as it was not visible above ground until July 12th. The oil-water Loss of Primary Containment (LOPC) occurred after cracks in the pipeline appeared due to advanced and mostly external corrosion on the buried section of the pipeline close to Park Tașbuga. The total length of the pipeline is 11.6 km and the section affected by advanced corrosion was 601 m.
The 2022 results are presented in the Performance in Detail – Environmental Performance section in this report.
Our actions will continue to focus on the improvement of pipeline integrity to prevent loss of containment as summarized in the Process safety section of the report.