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Reducing our Emissions

Respect for the Environment is one of our fundamental business Principles.

We recognize the value of the environment and are committed to protecting it and limiting the environmental effects arising from our business activities. 

A primary tool in this direction is the extensive application of Best Available Techniques (BATs), in accordance with the EU Directive on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control in industry (1996/61/EC). BATs concern both measures incorporated in the production process (primary measures), and end-of-pipe techniques. We always strive to incorporate BATs in the decision-making process for the investment projects we implement, in order to achieve in a cost-effective manner the greatest possible reduction of emissions.

CO2 emissions from our refinery are controlled and measured using a suitable calculation methodology, on the basis of which annual emission reports are drafted, and verified with respect to their reliability and precision by an officially recognized authority, before being submitted to the Ministry of the Environment and Urban Planning.

The measures we implement in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – especially carbon dioxide but also methane and nitrogen oxides – are:

1. Energy saving

The refinery’s production processes are particularly energy-intensive, with similarly high requirements for steam. Refineries are industrial plants with large combustion facilities and are covered by the Kyoto Protocol provisions, concerning the reduction of greenhouse gases emissions. Therefore, we are particularly concerned with the refinery’s “energy footprint” and with rationalising the way we manage our energy needs and use of fuel – as issues of particular environmental significance. We identify areas with potential for more efficient energy use and we implement the appropriate projects by using Best Available Techniques where appropriate.

  • We have been investing in steam and electricity co-generation units since 1980, and have achieved total energy self-sufficiency at the refinery through self-generation of all electric power requirements, with additional high benefits for the country as regards carbon dioxide emissions. The Power Co-Generation Plant of the refinery is of the combined-cycle type and consists of four gas turbines producing a total of 68.3 MW, and of two boilers which recover heat from the flue gases to produce approximately 100 tons of steam per hour. The overall performance of the combined cycle is around 80%, compared to performances of 30%-40% for steam and electricity generation if the combined cycle was not implemented. The Plant makes use of the fuel gas produced in various units of the refinery, and constitutes one of the most significant means of energy saving on the site.    
  • We install high-performance, low-emissions burners in the steam boilers (work on the largest of the 4 boilers has been completed, and work on the others is to be completed within 2008). Energy consumption, and therefore CO2 emissions, is reduced. Moreover, the operation of these burners is based on low-NOx technology, which means that nitrogen oxide emissions are also reduced.    
  • We upgrade the pre-heating furnaces of various units, so as to exploit the heat content of flue gases for achieving reductions in fuel consumption and in the emissions of CO2 (the conversion was completed at the furnace of the Crude Distillation Unit, which is the refinery’s largest furnace).    
  • We have replaced two gas turbines in the Power Co-Generation Plant (instead of simply maintaining them), to improve energy performance and reduce emissions.    
  • We have installed a Power Management System, which significantly increases the reliability of the refinery’s electricity network and consequently improves environmental performance as well.    
  • We have installed an advanced Distributed Control System (DCS). The DCS contributes significantly to the reduction of the environmental effects of the production processes, through their automation and the consequent assurance of top level reliability in the operation of the process units. 

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  • Similarly, there will be further environmental benefits resulting from the implementation of the Advanced Process Control System (APC), an extension of the DCS, which is in the process of being introduced in additional refinery units. The APC system is a fundamental tool for the more efficient utilization of production units, the reduction of refinery operational costs and the more efficient use of energy, raw materials, steam and water, which all lead to improved environmental performance.      
  • We convert our operating processes so as to maximize gas recovery and use this gas as fuel, thus minimizing flaring.    
  • We have installed a new reverse osmosis desalination unit for supplying water to steam generating boilers. This new unit by virtue of its increased performance contributes in the reduction of the refinery’s energy consumption.    
  • We apply a strict schedule for the cleaning of heat exchangers, for increasing their performance and reducing emissions.

According to a survey conducted by Solomon on the energy efficiency of refineries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East on the basis of 2006 data, MOTOR OIL’s Energy Intensity Index was estimated at 97, the lowest score being 67 and the highest being 199.

2. Introduction of natural gas to the refinery 

We have completed the construction of the natural gas internal distribution network, in preparation for the scheduled connection of the refinery to the main natural gas pipeline to Corinth in 2008. The use of natural gas at the refinery will reduce CO2 emissions, given that it is the environmentally optimum method for hydrogen production and electricity generation, while its use as a fuel will have further positive effects on emission reductions. Natural gas will be used: 

  • As an alternative raw material and/or fuel for the Hydrogen Production plant, primarily as raw material for hydrogen production but also as fuel to power the plant (the feedstock currently used by the hydrogen plant is naphtha or LPG).     
  • As an alternative fuel for the gas turbines of the refinery's Power Co-Generation Plant.    
  • As an alternative or supplementary fuel for those refinery furnaces that currently use fuel gas.

3. Minimizing diffuse equipment emissions 

This is achieved by applying the Leak Detection and Repair Program (LDAR), which is a Best Available Technique based on the EPA 21 method. The use of this technique ensures minimization of hydrocarbon emissions, which include methane (greenhouse gas).

Additional details and quantitative data relating to our emissions (both carbon dioxide and other pollutants) are available in our Environmental and Social Report and in the EMAS Environmental Statement.

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