Almetyevsk hears Greta Thunberg: Tatneft has new climate director

Top manager from G Petroconsulting Ltd László Gerec is entrusted with environmental control in the petrochemists’ capital

Tatneft chose an independent ecology supervisor who was given authority to control the upcoming execution of the Paris Agreement (the Kyoto Protocol). It is Tatneft Board member Hungarian László Gerec, the managing director of G Petroconsulting Ltd. Tatneft explained the appearance of the person “responsible for climate” with the necessity to control and keep a record of greenhouse emissions to meet obligations in the Kyoto Protocol, which Russia will join next year. The petrochemists introduced the new post also to calm the public down, which is protesting against the construction of a new gas and petrochemical factory of the company. More is in Realnoe Vremya’s report.

Responsible for climate

An unusual post — a member of the Board of Directors for climate — was created in corporate management at the next meeting of the Board of Directors of Tatneft, which Rustam Minnikhanov held in Almetyevsk on 30 September. Current independent director foreigner László Gerec, which has been a Tatneft board member for 5-7 years and is considered one of the most authoritative experts in financial audit of Tatneft, has been appointed for this post.

“To provide effective climate policy, independent director László Gerec has been appointed as a board member who is responsible for the supervision of climate change,” Tatneft’s press service said.

It is known that Gerec was the managing director MOL Oman Limited, Oman Branch from 2015 to 2017 and then headed G Petroconsulting Ltd investment company. As a member of the committee for audit at Tatneft’s Board of Directors, he prepares recommendations for control of integrity and authenticity of Tatneft’s report. At the same time, he participated in the committee’s work on staff and rewards by making remarks about the efficiency of the staff policy and the reward system.

It is considered that the voice of independent directors is important, as they account for 20% of the total number of votes: they have three out of 15 seats. But it became unknown why precisely Gerec out of three directors was appointed for the new position. As for the future tasks given to the person responsible for climate, Tatneft indicates that it is necessary to keep an integrated record of greenhouse emissions in Tatneft Group and show it in accordance with recommendations of the ТСFD, a working group that reveals financial information in climate change. Sources at Tatneft explained to Realnoe Vremya that it meant the revelation of the carbon footprint in public reports and the development of a quota trading system in the Kyoto Protocol.

At the same time, the Board of Directors of Tatneft confirmed a new edition of policy in process and occupational safety and environmental protection considering climate change. But the press service didn’t manage to answer if there would be created a separate committee to control these three types of activities that are now within the new independent director’s expertise.

Fashion for ecology directors

The introduction of posts of board members for ecology is becoming a fashion for corporate management of companies, and Tatneft just followed this practice. Previously, the management of ecological initiatives was raised to the level of board directors in companies in the Urals.

“On the initiative of independent directors, a new committee for occupational and process safety, ecology, which Tav Morgan (independent director) chaired,” Realnoe Vremya was told in the press service of the Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works. By that moment, ecological issues had already been within the expertise of the board member and director of occupational and process safety and ecology. And though they were constantly controlled by the Board of Directors, top managers agreed to hand them over to independent directors. They explained it with “the importance and topicality of the issues to the MMK and aspiration for the best corporate management and sustainable development experiences”.

“Such competency is developing in Russia but it is still new, while the requirements in the West are quite serious,” Igor Rozanov, member of the Supervisory Council of the Association of Professional Directors (APD), noted. “According to Clermont Partners, today 47% of investment organisations consider ESG factors when making investment-related decisions. Having a special position a company, the independent director must see the activity of the organisation not only inside but also cover external factors and risks influencing the company’s business, including ESG factors.”

WWR foundation’s experts also think that “the obligations imposed on the Russian Federation by the Kyoto Protocol will have serious consequences for its economic, social and ecological development”.

To turn off flares of oil gas

Creating the post of the person “responsible for climate”, Tatneft reacted to Russia’s upcoming accession to the Paris Agreement, which is aimed at fighting global climate change. Greta Thunberg — a Swedish schoolgirl, ecology activist — has recently raised this topic. Addressing the global industrial community at the UN’s climate summit, she claimed: “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words… The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not”.

As it is known, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev a decree on ratification of the Paris Agreement on 23 September. At a meeting with vice premiers, the government chairman indicated that within Ecology national project Russia is reducing emissions polluting the air, but “we will also have to consider the measures to meet the international obligations the goal is to reduce the amount of emissions of greenhouse gases”.

According to the Paris Agreement, the countries will be obliged to take measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. According to Tatneft’s report, about 3 million tonnes of emissions as greenhouse gas was prevented last year by recycling associated petroleum gas. Tatneft forecasts that as a consequence of ecological requirements, international oil companies will soon correct their strategies — the share of gas assets in portfolios will total from 40% to 62% in the companies’ production volume in 2030.

The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Tatarstan stays tuned for harmful emissions into the atmosphere at a distance using companies’ data.

“We signed an agreement on interaction and provision of data to observe the pollution of the atmosphere from TANECO and Nizhnekamskneftekhim,” the press service of the Tatarstan Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources said.

The enterprises send results of air monitoring themselves. Now the ministry together with the companies is creating a measure to move automatic air pollution control stations on the border of the United Sanitary and Protection Zone of the Nizhnekamsk Industrial Hub and further online access of the ministry’s employees to the measurements obtained from the posts controlling the air pollution by the enterprises of the Nizhnekamsk Industrial Hub.

How to recycle in Almetyevsk

Eco-activists see the forced promotion of a maleic anhydride factory construction project, which is supposed to be located on empty sites of the Minnibayevo Gas Processing Plant, as an attempt to clear the carbon footprint. The vicinity of the future gas reactor with the settlement Nizhnyaya Maktama scares them: the distance between them is about a kilometre. The appointment of the person responsible for climate happened amid protest moods of citizens, but is independent director László Gerec himself aware of it?

Tatneft intends to start building the maleic anhydride factory with a capacity of 390,000 tonnes a year ahead of the schedule — in 2020. It is supposed to invest 70 billion rubles. It will be the first project in Russia manufacturing this product based on gas processing. On 27 September, the Executive Committee of Almetyevsk scheduled public hearings to evaluate the environmental impact of the complex. It will be on 25 October, before that the citizens will be able to study the construction project.

By this time, an initiative group of opponents of the factory construction sent a collective petition to the Tatarstan office of the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources asking to evaluate the future enterprise’s safety. A reply to the citizens was posted in social media in For Clean Almetyevsk urban community. It doesn’t have a direct reply, but the service cites that they didn’t receive the project’s documentation.

Meanwhile, the office of the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources expressed its desire to readdress the citizens’ sore questions about the factory to Tatneft’s independent director hoping that he would persuade people of the project’s safety in the end. According to the service, a state ecological inspection would take several months.

By Luiza Ignatyeva