Why is this important?
As an integral part of our operation, water is used in the entire flow of operations, including drilling, steam generation, and cooling. Smaller quantities of water are also used for non-industrial purposes. To optimize extraction rates, some of the water used in operations is recycled back for reinjection to pressurize hydrocarbon reservoirs. Offshore operations use desalinated water, while Petrobrazi Refinery and CCPP Brazi use recycled water. The impact of our operations, including E&P, R&M and G&P, extends from the use of freshwater to the discharged water. This has the potential to impact both our communities as well as other local businesses in terms of water resources.
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. The strategy consists of 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.
The impact of our activities on both groundwater and surface water is systematically monitored on a case-by-case basis, according to the requirements specified in the environmental permits and in the water management permits. The main indicator tested for water quality is Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH).
The water management activities’ key goals are to reduce water consumption, utilize water resources efficiently and treat wastewater appropriately. Group HSSE Directive and Group Environmental Management Standard are internal directives that govern our water management activities and reflect our commitment to minimize the environmental impact of our operations, including impact on water resources. In order to comply with local environmental regulations and obtain all the required permits both for water withdrawal, use and discharge, OMV Petrom works with local regulatory and river basin authorities. We follow the regulatory EIA process (Environmental Impact Assessment) for new construction sites, which involves public consultation with stakeholders on environmental topics, including water quality issues, for which claims may also be handled within our Community Grievance Mechanisms.
Water Management Plans are implemented in compliance with the Environmental Management Standard, in order to secure sustainable long-term production with minimal environmental impact including quantitative impact related to water withdrawal.
The presence of pollutants, such as oil (petroleum) in effluents discharged, into water bodies is measured and monitored in accordance with the environmental permit and the water management permit (NTPA 001/2002 – Norms regarding the Maximum Allowable Discharge Concentrations for pollutants in municipal and industrial wastewater discharged into natural waters in Romania). OMV Petrom’s water management activities pursue socially equitable water use. An adequate standard of living is a commitment of OMV Petrom’s water management activities and this is reflected in the Human Rights Matrix. This commitment also extends to our suppliers who 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 address water topics in environmental training, which also includes employee training on the implementation of the Response Plan in case of accidental water pollution.
We continue the revision for updates of the Water Management Plans at operational level.
All relevant sites undergo high-level water risk assessments. To identify operations in areas at risk of water scarcity or water stress, we use international tools and indexes, including Verisk Maplecroft’s “Water Stress Index” by World Wildlife Fund, as well as our own assessments, as needed.
In 2022, E&P operations generated 36,928 ML of produced water (2021: 39,460 ML) – a by-product of oil and gas production. Following treatment, around 94% 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 E&P, treated in the state of-the-art water treatment plant at Suplacu de Barcău.
Effluent discharge quality standards are set in OMV Petrom complying with local regulations. As part of the OMV Petrom Group’s Environmental Management Standard, all activities are required to minimize effluents’ impact on the environment and local communities, and specific requirements are outlined for offshore and onshore wastewater discharge. 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. A systematic monitoring of all discharges is required, as well as a management strategy for any environmental impacts. To mitigate the impact related to water discharges, we apply best practice in terms of wastewater treatment technologies, and water saving options such as reuse – recirculation or reduction through upgrades.
In 2022, in total we used 53,161 ML of water, consisting of groundwater, surface water, water from public supply, sea water and produced water (2021: 56,347 ML). Out of the total water withdrawn in 2022, 4,540 ML was groundwater.
The Freshwater Withdrawal Intensity Index of OMV Petrom’s operations decreased by 1.02% in 2022 vs. 2021, based on a 2% increase in R&M, a stable intensity at Power Plants (CCPP Brazi, Petrom City Power Plant) and a 7% decrease in E&P. 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.
We will continue to optimize our water infrastructure and facilities, with a focus on minimizing environmental impact. To this end, key projects such as the rehabilitation of outdated production parks, replacement of cooling towers in older compressor stations, and the upgrading of old produced water pipelines will be given priority in the upcoming years. These initiatives are based on a thorough risk, and they need an assessment to ensure an optimal water management for the Company’s operations.