Non-GHG Air Emissions

Exposure to air pollution can affect everyone’s health. It is the greatest environmental threat to public health globally. The World Health Organization () recently issued stricter recommendations on safe air pollution levels in a bid to curb the millions of premature deaths and loss of millions more healthy years of life caused by air pollution.

Specific Policies and Commitments

The OMV Group’s Environmental Management Standard stipulates that all OMV Group businesses and activities must understand the impacts of their air emissions on local and regional ambient air quality. Air emissions are required to be monitored, controlled, and minimized in order to mitigate the potential effects on human health and harm to the environment. There are strong legal requirements surrounding air emissions in the , which is where all our refineries are located. For instance, the EU does not permit the use of fuels containing sulfur to prevent transport-related SOx emissions. Sulfur has a significant impact on health, for example sulfur dioxide affects the respiratory system, particularly lung function, and can irritate the eyes. It causes coughing and mucus secretion and aggravates conditions such as asthma and chronic bronchitis.

Management and Due Diligence Processes


In all our refineries, we monitor emissions of pollutants such as SOx, NOx,, particulate matter/dust, and (NM)VOCs as required by European and national legislation and the respective permits. If emissions are found to be in excess of nationally prescribed limits and/or limits defined in a permit, additional monitoring stations are installed, and measures are implemented. For example, in OMV Tunisia, pollutant emissions from combustion processes such as nitrous oxides (NOx) or carbon monoxide (CO) have caused great public concern due to their impact on health and the environment. The past decade has witnessed rapid changes both in the regulations for controlling gas turbine emissions and in the technologies used to meet these regulations. Monitoring of the emissions is typically performed with a Continuous Emissions Monitoring System (CEMS), which is a packaged system of gas analyzers necessary for the determination of gases and particles to stay within Tunisian emissions regulations. Because of this, we installed a pollutant analyzer on the turbines at .

Prevention and Treatment

OMV has long implemented technologies to reduce emissions, such as internal floating roofs to reduce emissions of VOCs. We have been focusing on upgrading such technologies to ensure that they are still effective and reducing emissions. For instance, in 2007, we commissioned a SNOx flue gas cleaning plant at the Schwechat refinery. With the SNOx Refurbishment of Wet Sulfuric Acid () program, in which a solution patented by OMV (two-layer PFA film structure with monitoring system) was implemented, both the reliability and the availability of the flue gas cleaning system could be increased. The flue gas cleaning plant at the Schwechat refinery is used for the removal of dust, and for denitrification and desulfurization of flue gases from the two power plants before they are emitted via the stack. As a first process step, dust is sepa­rated via electrostatic precipitators. During selective cat­alytic reduction, nitrogen oxides (NOx) are converted into free nitrogen (N2) and water (H2O) by injecting ammonia (NH3). In the third step, sulfur dioxide (SO2) is oxidized with the aid of a catalyst and reacts with residual moisture to form gaseous sulfuric acid. Finally, the sulfuric acid is condensed in the WSA by means of air cooling and heat recovery. The sulfuric acid obtained in this way is then either sold or used for pH adjustment within the refinery. By applying these process steps, 98% of dust can be sepa­rated, more than 96% of sulfur can be recovered, and around 95% of NOx emissions can be prevented. With the catalyst update in 2022, a NOx reduction rate of around 95% is now achievable again.

2022 Actions

The following key activities were carried out across the Group in 2022:

  • In Norway, a hybrid jack-up rig was used to drill the exploration well Oswig, which contributed to an approximately 25% reduction of diesel consumption per day. These rigs are provided with battery packs that reduce the use of diesel by approximately 5 t per day, which also translates to reduced emissions. In addition to an average reduction of 16.2 t of CO2 emissions daily, the installation of a NOx catalyst reduced NOx emissions by an impressive 90%.
  • In 2022, Borealis installed a wastewater treatment plant in Stenungsund. The new wastewater treatment unit will reduce the emission of contaminants to the sea and will also minimize emissions to the air, since all treatment steps are covered and enclosed. The new unit includes buffering in two tanks and physical and chemical treatment of the water in Dissolved Nitrogen Flotation (DNF) units. The off-gas from the different steps will be treated by adsorption in carbon filters.
  • OMV Petrom continues to restore sites as it has done previously for former fuel terminals or abandoned facilities. The best practices applied include the use of a water spray curtain, dust protection nets, forced ventilation, off-site bioremediation of the most heavily contaminated soil, and periodic communication with the community and the authorities. In periods of strong wind, OMV Petrom always minimizes dust-producing activities, wets surfaces more thoroughly, and covers the surfaces of on-site biopiles. This subsequently reduces the impact on the air quality. Regarding odor and dust control during soil excavation and transport, OMV Petrom has optimized transportation routes to minimize disturbance to the community, and always secures loads and cleans the wheels at the site exit to avoid the contamination of public roads, and sprinkles the access roads on site.
  • In R&M, the leak detection and repair () program in accordance with Reference Documents () continued to be carried out at the Petrobrazi refinery. The objective of this program is to reduce fugitive emissions from the plant’s technical equipment (e.g., vents, flanges). We continued the 2021 program, which targets accessible fugitive emissions sources from Tank Farm and Aromatic units and includes the screening of inaccessible sources. 92% of the leakages identified could be fixed. The program will run periodically, according to a schedule, in all Petrobrazi installations.


In 2021, we launched a pilot project to develop an Odor Management Plan for one representative facility at an E&P asset of OMV Petrom. We estimate that we will finalize this pilot project in 2023.

World Health Organization
European Union
carbon dioxide
gas treatment plant
Wet Sulfuric Acid
volatile organic compund
Leak Detection and Repair
Best Available Technology
BAT (Best Available Technology) Reference Document