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Clean water

The LUKOIL HSE Policy outlines efficient management obligations in relation to natural resources, including aquatic ones. Priority is given to the following topics:

  • minimize the impact of business activities, including without limitation by decreasing the withdrawal of water from natural sources; 

  • make production facilities less susceptible to potential adverse externalities, including natural ones (droughts, shallowing of surface water bodies, contamination of subsurface sources, etc.).

Under the Environmental Safety Program, all efficient aquatic resources management activities are combined into the "Clean water" subprogram.  LUKOIL's primary approach to addressing the issue of sustainable water use is to rely on recirculated water supply and water recycling, improve the quality of effluent treatment, and reduce process loss of water. Power generation, refining, and petrochemical facilities both in and outside of Russia are fitted out with recirculated water supply and process water recycling systems. Oil producing enterprises re-inject associated produced water to maintain reservoir pressure. New production facilities must at all times be fitted with recirculated water supply systems and water treatment facilities. To improve its water management, the Company carries out construction, upgrading and retooling of its water and effluent treatment systems.

Most of the Russia-based LUKOIL Group entities operate in the areas that do not run low on fresh water, other than those with a high population density and the country's southern regions demonstrating a high concentration of businesses. Water is withdrawn from the basins of the Ob, Pechora, Volga, Don, and Kuban Rivers under permits and within the established limits.

The risk of water shortage is noted for the basins of the Don and Kuban, specifically for the areas in the Krasnodar Territory with scarce water resources. LUKOIL views five Russian constituent entities as nationally arid (Krasnodar and Stavropol Territories, Astrakhan, Volgograd, and Rostov Regions). Given the fact that most of water withdrawn in the said Russian constituent entities is, following its use and treatment, discharged back to the initial water basins with practically unchanged quality parameters, the primary approach adopted by the Company in managing local water resources comes down to their efficient management and mitigation of losses.

Outside of Russia, i.e. in Uzbekistan, the Company has identified such potential risks as shortage of potable water due to an insufficiently developed utilities infrastructure, and likelihood of more droughts, also resulting from climate change. By identifying risks in a timely fashion, in foreign countries LUKOIL embraces an approach that is identical to that used in Russia and is about making water consumption efficient. In an effort to support local communities, LUKOIL Group entities have launched social projects to supply childcare centers with potable water, and assist in the upgrading of water supply systems of local settlements.

The Group's upstream, midstream, and downstream entities are all consumers of water, including that from the sea. LUKOIL-Nizhnevolzhskneft uses the Caspian seawater to cool down its equipment, and after it is down to its natural temperature, directs it back to the sea without using it in other processes and fully uncontaminated.

The Italian refinery (ISAB) takes in water for process needs from the Mediterranean. Following its desalination, the seawater is used for cooling of refining units. To decrease consumption of water, the refinery optimized some of its steam condensate circuit and recovery system, and took measures aimed at recycling seawater after treatment.

The key principle relied upon in offshore operations is the "zero discharge" principle that rules out any release of waste from production operations into the marine environment. All waste products are collected into leakproof containers and then taken onshore for decontamination and disposal.

All produced water is treated and injected into a reservoir pressure maintenance system (RPM) or subsurface intake. The quality of produced water treatment is regulated by legislation in the country of operation, as well as industry and corporate standards.

After separation from oil, produced water is sent to a water treatment unit where it extracts large mechanical particles (over 1.0 mm in size) and is then fed into a separator for additional treatment. LUKOIL uses technologies that ensure compliance of water quality with the requirements of industry and corporate standards and field development project documentation (oil product content in water does not exceed 50 mg/cc). The degree of water purification is monitored by laboratory methods. Industrial and rainwater is accumulated in underground reservoirs and, after treatment at local treatment facilities, is injected into the RPM system.

The efficient water management measures contribute to an actual curtailment of both water consumption, and disposal of effluent. Procuring that the quality of effluent meets the established requirements is one of the key objectives of the Environmental Safety Program. Compliance with the established standards is monitored by LUKOIL laboratories and independent certified entities as part of the industrial environmental monitoring process.

Any effluent from production processes is fed to water treatment facilities where it is subject to mechanical, biological, or physical and chemical treatment.

The Company works to identify and avert any potential adverse effects of water disposal. The main measures to minimize the adverse impact of effluent on the quality of water bodies include commissioning of new and/or upgrading of existing water treatment facilities, as well as diagnostic tests and overhaul of pipelines