HELLENIC PETROLEUM applies its environmental policy consistently, by ensuring the commitment of all its staff and integrating it into each and every one of its activities.
HELLENIC PETROLEUM Group faces significant challenges related to energy and climate change. In particular, through the implementation of its sustainable development strategy, it seeks to achieve both short and long-term energy efficiency and emission reduction targets, in line with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals with regard to affordable and clean energy (SDG 7) and responsible production and consumption (SDG 12).
These include, by way of example, the goals to reduce the Group's carbon footprint by 250,000 tons CO2 by 2025, though investing in the improvement of energy efficiency at the production facilities of the Group, as well as in Renewable Energy Sources (RES) and to reduce the CO2/tn indicator of crude oil feed by 5% by 2020 at the Group's refineries.
By continually improving operational parameters and reducing its environmental and carbon footprint, the Group constantly strives to achieve the goals it has set as follows:
- Continuous improvement of environmental performance to protect water, air and soil
- Increase energy efficiency and the optimal use of natural resources, based on the principles of sustainable consumption and production
- Reduce greenhouse emissions to address climate change
HELLENIC PETROLEUM applies its environmental policy consistently, by ensuring the commitment of all its staff and integrating it into each and every one of its activities. The implementation of the Group’s environmental policy is achieved through: setting objectives for each activity, monitoring all environmental parameters and benchmarking with the performance of the European industry and continuously educating staff and social partners on environmental issues, along with the implementation and certification of environmental management systems across the broad range of the Group’s activities.
In addition, the Group regularly evaluates its compliance with the relevant environmental management procedures at each facility, either through internal inspections by trained and experienced personnel or through inspections conducted by independent accredited certification bodies. At the same time, it monitors the development of environmental indicators (KPIs) which are included in the Group’s periodic reports and performance evaluation criteria for management.
HELLENIC PETROLEUM Group aims to reduce both gaseous emissions and waste generated through specific actions such as maximizing the use of gaseous fuels, using fuels of higher environmental specs and applying advanced technologies to the production process. In 2018, actions to improve the environmental footprint continued, with projects such as the use of Low NOx burners, volatile organic compounds recovery units at the port facilities of Aspropyrgos and Elefsina, as well as the additional fuel gas sulphur recovery unit at Thessaloniki refinery, which are presented in the diagrams below.
In particular, the CO2/tn crude oil emissions decreased over the past 5 years by 19% overall, exceeding the original target that had been set (-5% by 2020). This improvement is due to efficient energy management and energy saving projects. It is noted that, excluding 2017 which was affected by the shutdown of Elefsina refinery, 2018 is the best year over the last accounting for normal operating levels.
CO2/tn of Crude feed Emission Index*
In 2018, the Group's three refineries continued on the last 5 years’ trend, with the indicators of the most important gas emissions for the sector (SOx, NOx and PM particles per kilogram of emissions per ton feeds) improving steadily, reflecting the results of applied environmental management systems and programs for environmental performance improvement.
With regard to liquid and solid waste management, in accordance with the principles of circular economy and the Responsible Consumption and Production Goal (SDG 12), the primary objective is to reduce their production at source, maximize recycling and re-use in the production process of as many waste streams as possible, and subsequently manage them in the best possible way for the benefit of both the environment and human health. The goal is to significantly reduce waste which is destined for final disposal - landfill, and to stabilise it at 15% by 2030. HELLENIC PETROLEUM has invested in modern waste treatment units, such as three-stage integrated wastewater treatment and an oil-sludge treatment unit using biodegradation at the Thessaloniki facilities.
Due to the nature of its activities, the Group faces a number of risks in its operations in relation to the use of hazardous and flammable substances, as well as technical challenges in production and logistics facilities. Failure to manage those risks could have a significant impact on the Group's operations and financial position, including administrative sanctions, and inability to carry out its activities.
The Group implements a series of specific inspection and audit procedures, including management systems in line with international standards, where applicable, to address any risks related to safety and environmental issues, in addition to complying with relevant European and national laws and related equipment design specifications.
The Group’s three refineries participate in the European Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS). For the period 2013-2020 (3rd phase of the allowance trading system), despite the implementation of energy saving projects, compliance cost has significantly increased, due to the reduced number of allowances allocated each year as well as the significant increase in the price of allowances in 2018. In addition, in accordance with the decisions of the European Union on the establishment and operation of a Market Stability Reserve and the revision of the EU -ETS for the period 2021-2030, the price of allowances is expected to increase (€/tn), which will in turn directly affect the future compliance cost, both directly and indirectly through power consumption which also incurs a similar cost.
Moreover, increased cost for compliance with European environmental requirements has a negative impact on competitiveness due to proximity to neighbouring areas that are not subject to EU legislation and therefore incurring significantly lower environmental cost compliance vs EU members.
In 2016 the Group adopted the Greek Sustainability Code “SUSTAINABLE GREECE 2020” and actively participates in the Sustainable Development Dialogue, contributing with actions and investments to the 17 objectives set by the UN for 2030.
* Data from the first year of comparable levels of HELPE refinery operation