Climate change affects our business activities, creating significant challenges and opportunities. We are both a producer of energy products and an energy consumer. Energy consumption is not only a significant operating cost but at the same time the main source of carbon dioxide emissions. We are therefore designing an energy transformation toward a neutral carbon footprint economy in response to increasing demand for energy and in order to ensure energy sufficiency by taking measures and implementing projects to reduce emissions. For our leading participation in the energy transition, we give priority to our strategic transformation into an integrated Group that produces and markets all contemporary forms of energy and develops new business activities with an emphasis first of all on renewable energy sources.
At the same time, since our activities are primarily in Greece, a country with a large coastal front, we have already started studying ways in order to adapt to and address the consequences of climate change. Potential risks and opportunities for the Group’s operational activities include for instance participation cost management in the Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), feasibility studies for investments / activities with an emphasis on RES and other projects related to energy transformation.
As energy consumption is a significant operation cost for our activities, but also a main source of carbon dioxide emissions, we invest in optimizing energy use, Green electrification for production facilities and low-carbon fuels (e.g. blue and green hydrogen, biofuel plants, and also carbon emissions capture technology), energy efficiency in the production process and administrative operation as well as in the use of Renewable Energy Sources. At the same time, the scope for interventions – projects required to adapt our installations and critical energy infrastructures to climate change is studied.
The implementation of the Group’s environmental policy related to energy and climate change is achieved by a series of tools, such as setting targets and key performance indicators. All environmental parameters are also monitored through European indicators and benchmarks are used to assess the Group’s position in relation to the European industry performance. Our staff’s and social partners’ continuous environmental education across a wide range of activities is an important part of our climate change management within the Group. In addition, the Group is actively involved in the development of energy and climate change policies at a national and European level, including the EU ETS, the Energy Efficiency Directive and others.
Our approach and results so far have been positive, with significant progress made in achieving quantitative targets, (reduction in CO2 emissions intensity index and continuous reduction of carbon footprint) as well as external evaluation from CDP (the former Carbon Disclosure Project) with a Management level score of B- (in comparison to the average Awareness level in Europe and globally).
We aim to significantly reduce our carbon footprint by 50% until 2030:
in order to contribute in addressing the causes and impacts of climate change, lead toward energy transformation and evolve into a company with a net zero carbon footprint by 2050.
Scope 1,2 emissions – ktCO2
Offsets – ktCO2
* data from the first year of comparable operating levels of HELPE refining system
The tn CO2 emissions / tn crude oil feed index for the three Group’s refineries, is monitored in relation to the 2014 base year, and it’s six year declining trend from 2014 to 2020 reaches a 22% decrease, exceeding the initial target set for a 5% reduction by 2020.
Considering the change from one year to the next, 2020 in comparison to 2019, the index has slightly decreased by 2.5%. The reduction in the index reflects the significant energy saving activities – projects and other operation optimization interventions implemented at the Group’s refineries.
As far as monitoring and reporting of CO2 emissions is concerned, the Group systematically monitors not only direct CO2 emissions (Scope 1) but also indirect emissions (Scope 2 and 3) to the maximum extent of its activities.
Regarding direct emissions, the Group’s refineries have been participating in the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) since its formation, and follow all emission monitoring, calculation and verification procedures according to the Regulations of the 3rd phase (2013-2020). Moreover, our refineries have already started the preparation for the EU ETS 4th phase (2021-2030) new rules, which are still very strict and the requirements of the System have been increased, contributing to the increase in compliance cost. The EU ETS is an important tool in this direction, but carries great economic risks in the event of a large increase in the price of CO2 and reduction in free allowances, but also a reduction in European industry competitiveness compared to that outside the EU.
The following diagram shows the three refineries’ verified CO2 emissions for 2019 (for comparison) and 2020 as well as the free emission allowances for 2020.
Verified CO2 emissions and free allowances
for the Group’s refineries 2020
The Group’s total energy consumption, as shown in the following diagram, has slightly decreased by 3% in comparison to 2019, which is due to planned general maintenance activities during the Aspropyrgos refinery shut down.
Group’s total energy consumption 2015-2020
Investing in increasing energy efficiency, combined heat & power (CHP) units operate in all of the Group’s refineries. These CHP Units make the most out of the use of cleaner gases and other streams from the production process and thus contribute to avoiding a significant percentage of CO2 emissions (diagram below), which would have been emitted if the selfgenerated electricity came from our power suppliers. Also, due to the incorporation of a higher RES percentage into the energy production mix and the consequent reduction in the CO2 emission factor (DAPEEP data), there is a significant decrease in indirect Scope 2 emissions compared to previous years.
CO2 emissions that were avoided
due to self-generation,
in relation to total consumption emissions
As shown in the diagram below, in 2020, the self-generated electricity comprised approximately 30% of the total electricity consumption.
Total electricity consumption per generation method
The Group also monitors other indirect emissions from its activities. For example, estimates are made for CO2 emissions from sea transport of raw materials and products as well as for the carbon footprint of all activities in the Group’s office buildings (headquarters and Aspropyrgos, Elefsina and Thessaloniki refineries – “My Climate” Certification). In addition, in 2020 the Group’s total carbon footprint for activities in Greece was certified for the first time according to ISO 14064.
In 2020, HELPE Group participated for the third time in the CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) benchmarking process, the largest program requiring data collection of greenhouse gas emissions, power consumption and evaluation of companies’ response to climate change risks and opportunities on a global scale. Note that since 2018, CDP has integrated questions from the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD), which focuses on the financial risks and opportunities of climate change.
In 2020, HELPE Group (one of the 8 companies in Greece to participate in the evaluation in 2020 and at the same time, one of the three companies with industrial activity that participated) was rated again with “B-“, thus confirming the Group’s timeless commitment not only to managing climate change challenges, but also to long-term planning of business activities, based primarily on sustainable development but also on a low carbon footprint. Note that companies in the Oil & Gas Processing sector have been rated on average at the same Management level (Rating B: level “Management – Taking coordinated action on climate issues”), while the average rating for all companies in Europe and worldwide is at Awareness level – C.
The Group aims to stabilize its rating score in Management, and through the implementation of its strategy and improvement of its performance regarding reduction of its carbon footprint to reach the CDP’s Leadership category in the future.
Scoring level for climate change-related issues
through the CDP disclosure
For the HELPE Group, mitigation and adaptation to climate change are a key part of its strategy for sustainable development.
Climate change has been recognized as one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. Actions to adapt and mitigate its impacts have been legislated and are a priority at a global, European and national level. In this context, the first step for effective planning of actions is to survey and manage the risks and opportunities that exist. For short but also long-term strategy planning, the potential risks and related financial implications are analyzed in detail, in terms both of climate change mitigation and strategic adaptation to the impacts of climate change (e.g. in the case of natural changes, which are estimated to be important for the installations close to the coastal front of Greece). These are examined and analyzed through various pillars such as existing and forthcoming legislation, new technologies and the markets in which the Group operates, while at the same time, international forecasts for the energy market and climate change are analyzed in order to map out the Group’s long-term strategy.
Thus, a number of impacts and risks arise, which have been assessed, such as the increased cost for fuels and raw materials, a reduced demand for energy-intensive products such as fossil fuels as well as the stricter regulatory framework to control and limit Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGs) (such as the Emissions Trading System – EU ETS and the impending Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM)), which lead to a further increase in carbon costs.
For 2020, the financial impacts for the Group were directly related to the cost of covering the emission allowance deficit, since all three of the Group’s refineries in Greece participate in the EU ETS. For the period of 2013-2020 (third phase of ETS) and according to the existing allocation rules, the compliance cost has substantially increased especially in 2020, due to the significant increase in the EUA price (exceeding 31€/tn at the end of 2020), but also to the decreasing free allocation from one year to the next as a result of the increase of cross-sectoral correction factor (CSCF). Moreover, based on the latest European Commission decisions regarding the application of a Market Stability Reserve mechanism and the restructuring of EU ETS for the period 2021-2030 (4th phase EU ETS), a further increase in the allowances’ price (€/tn) is expected, which will directly affect future compliance cost. With the simultaneous reduction of free allowances in the 4th phase, the Group will be required to cover a large additional cost, despite its classification in the sectors at risk of carbon leakage (detrimental to its competitiveness). Due to its geographical location (EU borders), the Group is in a riskier position than other European countries due to competition from neighboring countries that are not obliged to follow EU ETS rules and produce the same products at no additional operating cost (the so-called carbon cost).
In addition, due to the fact that since 2013 power generation is not eligible for free allocation, refineries are additionally burdened with the increased cost for purchasing electricity, since the cost of purchasing allowances for power production is passed on to the consumers.
The above risks (increased CO2 costs, transition to a neutral carbon footprint economy, changes in demand and consumer preferences) are assessed by Group’s management on a continuous basis, within each financial year, and investment opportunities are identified (e.g. RES development, increase in energy efficiency, low-carbon product development) in order to delineate the Group’s strategy. Its precise implementation has already contributed to reducing the carbon deficit and operating costs by increasing energy efficiency, while at the same time fuels of a lower carbon footprint are already a significant part of Group’s turnover.
The Group also recognizes new, low-carbon technologies developed to address climate change, such as blue and green hydrogen production technologies, CO2 capture, storage and utilization technologies and other technologies to replace fossil fuels with more environmentally friendly raw materials . Due to the immediate need for action, most new technologies are directly assessed in terms of their applicability and effectiveness to reduce potential risks and maximize benefits.
Finally, the evaluation of possible opportunities for further use of natural gas continues, since it is the transition fuel toward a low carbon economy, but also of advanced biofuels, through the implementation of various R&D programs. To a large extent, natural gas has already replaced liquid fuels in the Group’s refineries
The Group’s goal is to transform into an innovative energy group that provides a multitude of low carbon energy products, maintaining its leading position in a climate-neutral economy.
Biofuels are the only direct substitute for fossil fuels currently available on a large scale as transport fuel. Their use contributes to a reduction in vehicles’ carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and to more environmentally friendly transport, without requiring significant modifications to vehicles or distribution networks.
To date, the term biofuel in the Greek market refers mainly to biodiesel, a fuel having similar properties to those of diesel, which is used as a substance (after being mixed with conventional diesel) in all diesel powered vehicles according to European mixture specifications.
At the same time, from 2019 the new specification for adding biofuels to gasoline at 1% in energy content was implemented in the domestic market, which increased up to 3.3% since 1/1/2020. In order to comply with the new legislation, the HELPE Group converted the existing Aspropyrgos refinery’s methyl ether production plants (MTBE and TAME) to the respective ethyl ether plants (ETBE/TAEE), using bioethanol as feed material in the etherization reaction. The upgrade was successfully completed and both units are operational.
|Year||Biodiesel (lt)||% v/v in diesel fuel|
Over the last eight years, RES plants with a total capacity of 26 MW have been developed and are already operating mainly on Group properties as well as other areas. Specifically, photovoltaic plants with a total capacity of 19 MW are operational in Attica, Thessaloniki, Kavala and Karditsa and a wind farm with a capacity of 7 MW in Messinian Pylos. Moreover, 14 photovoltaic self-producing plants on a net metering program with a total nominal capacity of 192 kW are in operation at an equal number of EKO and BP petrol stations. At various stages of development are photovoltaic projects with a total nominal capacity of 1,109.5 MW, 219 MW wind farms as well as one power and heat generation plants from biomass combustion (derived from residual agriculture) with a total capacity of 4.68 MW. In 2020, in particular, applications were submitted to acquire permits for photovoltaic and wind power production with a total capacity of 65 MW and 149 MW respectively.
Furthermore, in cooperation with LARCO, a portfolio for a 43.9 MW photovoltaic project is under development. In addition to the above, on February 17th 2020 a contract was signed with JUWI for the acquisition, construction and operation of a 204.3 MW photovoltaic project in Kozani, which is the largest in Greece and the 6th largest in Europe, to-date. The transaction was completed on October 1st, 2020, and the project’s construction started in November 2020. The project’s completion is expected in early 2022.
The total energy produced by the Group’s photovoltaic plants has exceeded 85 GWh from initial operation and production from Messinia’s wind farm has exceeded 109 GWh respectively.
The total avoided CO2 emissions from RES
surpass 180,000 tons.
HELPE Group entered dynamically the eMobility Market. The newly established company of the Group, ElpeFuture, 100% subsidiary of the Group, is developing an extensive network of EV charging stations and respective eMSP & CPO services.
ElpeFuture’s development plan includes the installation of 60 DC fast chargers (50kW) at selected EKO/BP petrol stations across Greece, as well as a significant quantity of AC chargers in commercial customers.
HELLENIC PETROLEUM Group, continuously monitoring the energy trends and developments, contributes to the promotion and operation of sustainable mobility, supporting actions which aim towards the transition to a low carbon economy.