Moscow Refinery: Environmental Indicators of a Modernisation Programme

Since 2009, Gazprom Neft-Moscow Refinery has been implementing a programme to upgrade its production facilities in order to improve the quality of petroleum products, increase refining depth, and improve industrial and environmental efficiency. Investments in environmental safety amounted to more than RUB 14 billion. During this period, the Company constructed a large bitumen plant, closed mechanical treatment facilities, and reconstructed a sulphur production plant, leading to a reduction in atmospheric emissions. The Company has eliminated legacy oil-contaminated waste, dismantled old exposed treatment plants, and carried out land rehabilitation measures.

Investments in the modernization and reconstruction of the Moscow Refinery will total more than RUB 130 billion by 2020, of which RUB 21 billion will be directed at environmental protection measures. Major environmental projects include the renovation and construction of oil refining facilities, the processing of sulphur and alkaline wastewater and process condensate, biological treatment plants, and measures to reduce adverse impacts on the sanitary protection zone (equipping reservoirs with pontoons, installing a nitrogen ‘breathing’ system, constructing local sewage treatment plants, etc.).

Protecting the atmosphere

The Moscow Refinery is implementing a programme to reduce atmospheric emissions. Measures undertaken in 2014 have helped to reduce total pollutant emissions by 12%. Thanks to the modernization programme, annual sulphur emissions have decreased by 20% since 2010. By 2020, the Moscow Refinery will have upgraded its process furnaces and switched completely to environmentally-friendly gaseous fuel. This will reduce sulphur oxide emissions by more than 95%.

The plant has a monitoring system that makes it possible to fully control air quality on the industrial site and in the enterprise’s sanitary protection zone. Air quality studies conducted at eleven points within the sanitary protection zone and the plant area by the plant's own environmental laboratory. The air quality in the plant's working area and at the sources of pollutant emissions is also assessed by an independent accredited laboratory. A fixed automated control system consisting of two control points monitoring gas contamination also controls air quality in the sanitary protection zone.

The Company places special emphasis on keeping stakeholders informed of its environmental protection activities. In December 2014, the Moscow Refinery’s official website launched the Ecoinformer project, publishing daily updates on air quality and environmental conditions at the plant and within the sanitary protection zone. Ecoinformer provides statistical data on six key indicators (carbon monoxide, C1-C10 hydrocarbons, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, hydrogen sulphide, and benzene), and compares the current level of pollutants in the air with the maximum allowable concentrations.

Waste management

Biological treatment is used to process waste at the Moscow Refinery. The system is based on the use of biological preparations consisting of natural microorganisms that actively process hydrocarbons. Oil sludge is sent to a specially equipped site where it is detoxified. Waste is mixed with structuring agents (sawdust or peat) and then treated with biological preparations. Depending on the weather conditions, it can take up to two months to detoxify the sludge. Biological treatment turns sludge into a new product: class IV hazard ground soil. The new product can then be used for filling.

Protecting water resources

In 2014, the Moscow Refinery completed the first stage of a project to construct biological treatment facilities to purify water with 98–99% efficiency.

The new treatment facilities will include two-stage pressure flotation, a membrane bioreactor, carbon filtration unit, reverse osmosis unit, and a waste processing unit. The bioreactor will be completely enclosed and equipped with a powerful air cleaning system that eliminates odours.

The water purification project proposes the use of reverse osmosis, filtering biologically treated water through a membrane with pore sizes of 0.01–0.2 microns. This process ensures that virtually all suspended solids and microorganisms are captured. The technology will make it possible to reuse up to 75% of water, reducing the amount of waste water that the plant discharges into the centralized sewage system by a factor of three. The waste water treatment facilities will have a processing capacity of 1,400 m3/h. Construction is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2015.

Alexander Sannikov
Alexander Sannikov Head of the Oil Refining Directorate

Both the Moscow and Omsk refineries are now discharging water that is significantly cleaner than what is collected from natural sources. The large-scale programme to construct and renovate treatment facilities underway at the Moscow and Omsk refineries will enable us to recycle water that meets fishery standards.