One of the foundations of effective environmental management at plants as large as those of the LOTOS Group is the ability to identify and designate, unprompted, areas where environment impacts can or have to be reduced and where pro-environmental changes are economically viable.
To make sure we continue our efforts to mitigate negative environmental effects, we have developed a List of Environmental Objectives, which sets out overall environmental goals to be achieved within a specified time frame, as well as concrete intermediate tasks.
In 2013, we attained the last on the list of environmental objectives set three years earlier. Over those three years, Grupa LOTOS implemented multiple investment projects, which have enabled it to:
- Reverse and recover flare gases normally burned off in flare stacks,
- Use natural gas as the primary energy source in our process units and the CHP plant,
- Use natural gas as the primary feedstock in the production of hydrogen gas.
The first of these projects has made it possible to recover and redirect gases away from the flare headers back into the fuel gas system at the refinery. A flame on top of our once most intensively used flare stack is now a rare sight. The project has helped us reduce air emissions from flare gas combustion, without increasing emissions at plant process emission points.
As a low-emission feedstock, natural gas is used at Grupa LOTOS in three areas. First, it has replaced fuel oils formerly used at the CHP plant, and is now the primary steam generation fuel. Secondly, natural gas is currently one of the key components of the refinery's fuel gas. Thirdly, natural gas is used in the production of hydrogen, which is a key element of the hydrocracking and hydrotreating processes. Before, we used LPG and naphtha to produce hydrogen, both more emission-intensive than natural gas.
Currently, Grupa LOTOS has a List of Environmental and Energy Efficiency Objectives in place, which also includes measures designed to achieve continuous improvement in energy efficiency. The new objectives include:
- Improved energy efficiency of the interplant pipeline steam heating system.
- Reduced consumption of primary energy at the Grupa LOTOS S.A. refinery.