Socially and environmentally responsible and efficient operation requires continuous reduction of air emissions in order to minimize our impact and contribute substantially to improving air quality in the locations we operate.
By operating our facilities with social and environmental responsibility, we build relationships based on trust, cooperation and open communication with the local communities.
The goal for continuous reduction of air emissions and improvement of air quality is achieved by adopting Best Available Techniques which include best practices and investments in innovative low emission technologies.
We aim to continuously reduce air emissions by implementing specific actions such as maximizing fuel gas use, using fuels with higher environmental specifications and applying advanced technologies to the production process.
We are committed to strictly complying with all national and European laws and best practices, a case in point being our compliance with petroleum industry’s Best Available Techniques and the European Industrial Emissions Directive, while implementing certified environmental management systems throughout the entire range of our activities. Our commitment is put in practice through significant investments in innovative production & emission abatement technologies.
Our approach and results to date have had particularly positive evaluations, if you take into account the significant reduction of key air emission indices over the last five years as well as our contribution to reduce the monitored quantitative air quality data of the neighboring areas in which we operate.
Our goal is the continuous reduction of air emission indices in all our activities and acknowledgment of our significant contribution to improving the air quality of the local communities.
The Group aims to reduce air emissions across the range of its activities by implementing specific actions including maximizing fuel gas use, using fuels with higher environmental standards and implementing advanced technologies in the production process (i.e. low nitrogen oxide emission burners, steam recovery systems during petroleum products loading).
In the Group’s three refineries, which comprises its main activity, fuel gas and natural gas use for self-consumption has been maximized, minimizing the use of liquid fuels and as a result, achieving significant reductions in emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM).
Specifically in 2020, the indices for sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter – PM10 emissions (kg emissions per tn throughput) show significant improvement with a decrease of 36%, 32% and 27% respectively, in the last five years (2015 – 2020).
Reductions in air emissions indices over the last six years are presented in detail in the diagram below.
Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and Particulate Matter (PM10) Indices (kg emissions per tn throughput for 2015-2020)
Specifically for particulate matter, in the context of the implementation of latest Best Available Techniques and in order to achieve further emission reduction, an investment to install a ESP filter for the catalytic cracking unit at the Aspropyrgos refinery was completed in 2020.
Regarding compliance with current legal limits (tn/year), reported SO2 emissions (as an absolute figure, tn/year) remained much lower (-70%) than the current limit of the relevant environmental permits (in tn/year).
Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) emissions for 2015-2020 compared to the current limit
At the same time and specifically to reduce fugitive Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) emissions, Best Available Techniques have been implemented for storage and transfer of products (such as secondary seals on the ceilings of floating roof tanks, painting the volatile products tanks in white for high reflectivity, bottom tank truck loading with simultaneous operation of Vapor Recovery Units) as well as new Vapor Recovery Unit at tanker loading dock facilities, while the implementation of regular preventive maintenance program and early leak detection and repair (LDAR) program of equipment (e.g. valves, flanges, etc.) continues. All of the above has led to a significant reduction in VOC emissions in recent years, which exceeds 15% in the last year alone (2020 compared to 2019).
The above performance, in main air emissions, regarding point source and fugitive emissions from the industrial facilities’ operation, contribute to the decline in air quality emission measurements in the areas in which we operate. This improved performance is reflected in the areas’ air quality measurements which is monitored by our facilities’ Air Quality Measurement Stations and other respective competent authorities’ monitoring Stations as well (air quality reports of the municipalities and the Ministry of Environment and Energy). Note that air quality measurements include and correspond to all the surrounding area’s contributing air emission sources, such as transportation and other industrial activities.
Investments have been planned to further reduce nitrogen and sulfur oxides, particulates and volatile organic compound emissions, for instance filters, volatile organic compound recovery systems, etc. including operating expenditures such as increased use of natural gas as fuel for self-consumption and further improvements in reducing emissions as a result of energy efficiency and savings projects being implemented in parallel.