Oil spills1 Oil spills are defined as hydrocarbon liquid spills that reach the environment. are a critical environmental issue for our industry. Spill management is defined as the prevention of spills in operations and those caused by incidents such as sabotage or natural hazards, and the management and remediation of spills resulting from an incident. Our key commitment is to prevent spills from happening in the first place. If they do occur, we aim to reduce their impact through appropriate and fast oil spill response and clean-up.

Multiple stakeholder groups are affected by our spill management activities. Government authorities are involved through potential breaches of environmental regulations, while employees and contractors are impacted by potential health and safety issues arising from accidents and damage to the environment and society. NGOs/NPOs are interested in potential damage to the environment and society, society may suffer as a result of damage to the surrounding environment, and shareholders may have to deal with direct financial losses due to the costs of remediation measures and reputational damage.

Furthermore, as OMV is diversifying, oil spills are no longer the only spills we need to deal with. For our subsidiary Borealis, preventing pellet spills is also a key issue. Borealis is committed to achieving zero pellet loss in and around its operations, during transportation, and across the entire value chain. The company was therefore an early signatory to Operation Clean Sweep® (), an international program initiated by the Plastics Industry Association and the American Chemistry Council and rolled out in Europe by Plastics Europe. Borealis is also a signatory of the Zero Pellet Loss pact in Austria, which is the Austrian equivalent of OCS. Achieving zero pellet loss is an ongoing journey and requires leadership, effort, investment, and targeted and effective work practices. The following section will discuss our management of oil spills. Read more about our efforts on pellet spills in the Borealis Annual Report.

Management and Due Diligence Processes

We aim to prevent and reduce oil spills and leakage in our operations at sea as well as on land. Appropriate spill prevention and control plans that account for specific business conditions have been put in place. These include proactive management plans comprising risk assessments, preventive measures, and inspections, as well as reactive management plans comprising control, response, and clean-up procedures. The majority of our oil spills involve OMV Petrom’s E&P division, where we concentrate our efforts on safeguarding and maintaining our infrastructure and improving the reliability of our facilities.

Hazard Identification and Risk Assessments

We have a well integrity management system in place, and detailed Hazard and Operability () and Hazard Identification () studies have been conducted for all our wells. OMV has also developed a Corrosion Management Framework () to provide a proactive and consistent approach to corrosion monitoring and management across the entire OMV Group. Covering the full life cycle of the equipment exposed to the risk of corrosion in both oil and gas facilities, from the well to the sales point, this framework encompasses the entire value chain of our business. A team of 30 in-house experts with multidisciplinary and multicultural backgrounds is working to embed CMF principles into everyday operations.

Emergency Response and Contingency Plans

We conduct spill responses according to a plan that identifies appropriate resources (persons in charge and intervention materials) and expertise. This plan assists on-site personnel with dealing with spills by clearly setting out the responsibilities for the actions necessary to stop and contain the spill and to mitigate its effects. This includes techniques for preventing the spill from moving beyond the immediate site and collecting the spilled substance and contaminated material. Clear communication and coordination protocols are set out in the local plans, particularly where national or international response resources may be required. We carry out regular oil spill response drills and training.

Clean-up and Remediation

Oil spills are assessed and cleaned up immediately after their occurrence in accordance with internal procedures governing spill remediation. In particularly difficult cases, we rely on third-party support for capping and containment, surface clean-up, and emergency management. Leaks are repaired immediately or within defined time frames in accordance with the site’s maintenance processes and based on the risk assessment outcome and other factors, such as feasibility of repair during operation. To strengthen our response to and reduce the environmental impact of oil spills, we continue to perform emergency drills, including pollution scenarios. We approach remediation measures in line with the relevant legal requirements, which include clean-up, restoration, rehabilitation, and/or replacement of damaged environmental receptors.

We ensure that the affected land is fit for the intended use by implementing remediation measures, including cleaning up spills (e.g., by excavation and clean earth filling) as well as relying on natural attenuation (recovery) based on the respective decision of the environmental authorities. Provisions are included in our accounts for the liabilities related to spills and cover cleaning and remediation costs.

2022 Actions

Total volume of spills

In m³

Total Volume of Spills (bar chart)

The most significant spill in 2022 was at our Asset Moldo­va in Romania. In July 2022, a crude oil spill occurred in the Tasbuga mountainous area. On July 12, after heavy rain, the first oil-water mix became visible 600 m downhill from a partially buried pumping pipeline connecting Tasbuga Park to the Alboteşti Tank Farm. The oil spill extended downhill through a forest, via a concrete gulley, and continued for another approx. 300 m in a small stream. The estimated affected area was more than 4 km2, underground in the sandstone and above ground along the stream in the forest. Altogether, 198,000 liters of crude oil were spilled into the environment. After the leak was detected, pumping was stopped immediately and the affected area was comprehensively cleaned up. In order to avoid similar incidents in the future, the incident was thoroughly investigated in accordance with internal regulations.

The majority of our spills occur at OMV Petrom. In 2022, we continued to focus on the Pipeline Integrity Management Program in the Upstream division and embedded the Integrated Risk Register in our current activities. This helped us prioritize interventions for the high-risk pipelines, such as complete or sectional replacement. The Pipeline Inspection program is also in operation and is expanding to include all categories of pipelines, i.e., low- and medium-risk pipelines, and the results obtained will help us better prioritize for the next inspection period. Corrosion Management Plans developed in 2020 and 2021 are now ongoing and being implemented. This has helped improve the integrity and longevity of our pipelines through cleaning, inspection, and introduction of inhibition chemicals, along with new corrosion monitoring techniques. External coatings and cathodic protection are now mandatory for all new metallic pipelines in accordance with OMV Group and OMV Petrom standards and proce­dures. A pipeline inspection program is in place and functional for all pipelines that are able to be inspected inter­nally. The program is managed and planned in SAP (Computerized Maintenance Management System). In addition, OMV Petrom continues to reduce the number of kilometers of pipelines through several field optimization projects, which will reduce the risk of exposure by removing numerous aging pipelines while maintaining optimal production.


Every year, we assess any occurrences of spills and use any “lessons learned” as a basis for improving our process safety in the coming years. For the significant spill in Romania in 2022, lessons learned included reviewing the risk ranking of pipelines crossing environmental sensitive areas, reviewing pipeline testing procedures, and re­assess­ing the methodology for inspection for aging pipelines. In 2023, the OMV Group aims to prevent process safety events at all our sites across the globe, ultimately resulting in the reduction of spills. Read more in Process Safety.

1 Oil spills are defined as hydrocarbon liquid spills that reach the environment.

Operation Clean Sweep®®
Hazard and Operability
Hazard Identification
Corrosion Management Framework
Computerized Maintenance Management System