Oil spills are a critical environmental issue for our industry. Spills management is defined as the prevention of spills in operations and other spills (e.g., caused by sabotage or natural hazards) and the management and remediation of spills resulting from an incident.
Stakeholders with major concerns relating to potential impacts stemming from spills are:
► Government authorities: potential breaches of environmental regulations
► Employees and contractors: potential health and safety issues arising from accidents and damage to the environment and society
► NGOs/NPOs: potential damage to the environment and society
► Communities: damage to the surrounding environment
► Shareholders: direct financial losses due to the remediation costs and reputational risk.
Spill prevention and control measures include:
► hazard identification and risk assessment
► preventive measures and maintenance to avoid leaks
► emergency response and contingency plans, including materials and equipment for spill intervention
► clean-up and remediation procedures.
Appropriate spill prevention and control plans for specific business conditions are in place. These plans assist personnel at sites dealing with a spill by clearly setting out the responsibilities for actions necessary to stop and contain the spill and to mitigate its effects. This includes techniques for preventing the spill from moving beyond the immediate site, collecting the spilled substance and contaminated material. Clear communication and coordination protocols are set out in the local plans, particularly where national or international response resources may be required. To strengthen our response to and reduce the environmental impact of oil spills, in 2020 we continued to perform emergency drills, including pollution scenarios, i.e., in Assets Muntenia Vest and Petromar.
Offshore operations may lead to oil spills with a significant impact on marine ecosystems. The response strategy aims to minimize the probability of such risks and maximize readiness to provide timely remediation measures in the unlikely event of an oil spill. For OMV Petrom’s offshore operations, we have an oil spill prevention and contingency plan, according to applicable legislation and approved by the relevant authorities. In the event of a very large oil spill, when considerable amounts of equipment and expertise may need to be mobilized, we have contracted an international specialized service provider to support an effective oil spill response.
OMV Petrom has a Well Integrity Management System in place to ensure that all the wells’ technical integrity is maintained throughout their life cycle and oil spills are prevented. We apply several internal and industry standards when designing wells, such as the OMV Petrom Well Engineering Technical Standard including OMV Petrom Technical Requirement, i.e., for Casing Design and Operational Well Barrier Integrity, the OMV Petrom Well Management Systems for the well lifecycle internal documents, in line with international standards: API, ISO 16530 and NORSOK. Blowout preventer (BOP) is an important safety device for offshore drilling. BOPs are installed and tested for each drilling and workover program. We run cement bond logs after drilling new wells to get an image of cement quality. For the active wells, we perform visual inspections frequently and functional testing of the valves occurs periodically as per the Offshore Operations schedules.
Our Company complies with the Directive 2013/30/EU on safety offshore oil and gas operations. The objective of this Directive is to reduce as far as possible the occurrence of major accidents and to limit their consequences, thus increasing the protection of the marine environment against pollution. In alignment with the relevant Romanian authority, an independent verification body issues annual well integrity reports for the well control during the drilling and workover operations.
Digital Tool for Well Integrity – enhanced monitoring for spill prevention
OMV Petrom implemented an industry-recognized digital tool for Well Integrity. Thus, we monitor and track each well barrier’s status to keep all hydrocarbon fluids within a closed and controlled system to prevent spills and environmental pollution and protect our employees and communities. We use this tool to assess the well integrity risks, prioritize the well integrity inspections, and implement the appropriate risk reduction measures. Currently, each and all-active offshore wells are included and monitored in this software. Our goal is to digitalize all our wells and we have already succeeded for 3,000 wells, representing 38% from the total wells in scope of the project at the end of 2020.
SDG 7 Target: 7.b By 2030, expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy for all in developing countries.
In 2020, the Report for OMV Petrom showed that we are compliant with the Well Integrity Management System and Well Integrity Performance Standard. In addition, we earned the Certificate of Compliance for the digital application of our Well Integrity Management System – the first ever received in Romania. Information about pipeline integrity and process safety management you can find in this report at the Safety Chapter – Process Safety and Integrity disclosure.
In 2020, we recorded no major hydrocarbon spill (2019: one major spill).
A total of 2,267 minor releases occurred in 2020 (2,011 minor releases in 2019).
Total hydrocarbon spillage was around 31,908 litres (2019: 54,195 litres). The number of spills and their volume are fully documented and reported using the new OMV Petrom reporting tool. Spills were mainly due to the corrosion of the aging infrastructure in Upstream.
Hydrocarbon spills are assessed and cleaned up immediately after their occurrence in accordance with internal procedures governing spill remediation. Leaks are repaired immediately or within defined time frames in accordance with the site’s maintenance processes and based on the risk assessment outcome and other factors, such as the feasibility of repair during operation. We approach the remedial measures in line with the relevant legal requirements, including clean up, restoration, rehabilitation and/or replacement of damaged environmental receptors. Due to the very effective and efficient cleaning and remediation techniques applied, the oil spills recorded by OMV Petrom in 2020 had only a minor short-term impact on the environment.
We ensured that the affected land was fit for the intended use by remedial measures, including cleaning up (e.g., by excavation and clean earth filling) and natural attenuation (recovery), upon the decision of the competent environmental authorities. Environmental provisions are booked in accounting for the liabilities related to spills, covering cleaning and remediation costs.