Pollutants can travel hundreds of miles from their sources having their impact far from their origins. Air protection has therefore been at the centre of EU environmental policy priorities for several years now. Programs and strategies such as the CAFE program (Clean Air for Europe), the Air Quality Directive or the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) set obligations on Member states and private companies as well.
MOL Group, is a significant industrial player in CEE region and understands its share of responsibility towards improving air quality and dedicates significant resources to minimizing its air emissions.
The main source of emissions in MOL Group’s operations are the combustion of fossil fuels and refining technologies. Refining division accounts for up to 85% of total basic pollutants emitted to the air in the company’s operations. The most significant pollutants of refineries are SO2, NOx and VOCs. We focus on reduction of emissions through the installation of low NOx burners and the implementation of programs to detect and eliminate VOC leakages.
The SO2 emissions and NOx emissions are on the rise in the past years. The 56% increase in SOx and 23% increase in NOx during the 2013-2017 period is attributable to several factors such as increased production in E&P and some of the refineries, lower quality of fuel gas used and crude with higher sulphur content and inorganic expansion through the acquisition of the CM European Power Slovakia (CMEPS).
The chart below shows the emissions trends of sulphur and nitrogen oxides from the operations of the company.
In order to better control the VOC emissions, a leak detection and repair programme (LDAR) has been ongoing in MOL Group since 2010, coupled with a programme for improving the monitoring and reporting of such emissions. Every year, the scope of the LDAR programme has been extended to cover more units.
However, the program has resulted in significant decreases of VOC over the past few years at the individual site level and in 2017 efforts continued with further improvements.
At the Petrochemicals division emissions are generated mainly in the furnaces of the steam cracker units. The most significant pollutants here are NOx and VOCs. NOx emission has been decreased with the installation of low-NOx burners in past years, while in order to reduce VOC emissions a project was implemented where we installed fixed roofs on floating roof tanks. Each process we operate at Petrochemicals division complies with best available techniques (BAT) requirements.
At the Upstream division we focus on reducing the amount of flared and vented hydrocarbons and internal gas consumption. Even though Upstream does not have as significant emissions as Downstream (Refining or Petrochemicals), our goal is to continuously decrease emissions here as well. Since 2015, MOL Group is a signatory party to the Zero Routine Flaring Initiative of World Bank.
In the Logistics and Retail divisions the most significant pollutant is VOC which is derived from the handling and storage of final petroleum products. Such emissions are managed by installing first and second stage vapour recovery units.