Caring for environment: Nizhnekamskneftekhim intensifies work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

The problem of climate change becomes more acute every year: scientists are sounding the alarm and calling on large companies to reduce emissions. To contribute to the struggle for the environment, Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC is developing a climate strategy. It will include targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strategic directions, and an action plan for achieving the targets. Oleg Grishakov, the deputy chief engineer for environmental protection, head of the company's environmental safety department, told Realnoe Vremya about the measures taken by Nizhnekamskneftekhim to protect the environment.

Climate in danger

Mr Grishakov, according to Greenpeace, the previous year has been the warmest for Russia in the entire history of observations. What has the biggest impact on climate change?

Scientific studies have proven that the main factor of warming is greenhouse gas emissions. The main ones are the following: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, synthetic chemicals such as hydrofluorocarbons, halogenated hydrocarbons, sulphur hexafluoride, and others, as well as water vapour.

The greatest greenhouse effect is caused by the extraction, transportation, and combustion of fuel, the production of raw materials, food industry, the disposal and incineration of waste. The situation is aggravated by deforestation, forest fires, and motor vehicle emissions.

How are greenhouse gas emissions estimated, is the estimation mandatory? Is Nizhnekamskneftekhim conducting such work?

In international practice, when estimating greenhouse gas emissions, companies divide direct and indirect emissions, which are estimated in three categories: Scope 1 is direct emissions from own sources, Scope 2 is indirect energy emissions from energy production from outside energy sources, and Scope 3 is other indirect greenhouse gas emissions.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC annually conducts an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions by three categories: Scope 1, Scope 2, Scope 3," says Oleg Grishakov. The company also participates in the Carbon Disclosure Project, providing information to customers on special requests through the CDP platform.

The CDP reporting has become the main international platform for carbon reporting. As part of the programme, companies from different sectors and regions of the world provide information on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change activities in a single format upon request sent by CDP on behalf of buyers, investors or creditors.

Based on the results of an independent evaluation of the submitted reports, companies are assigned ratings — they are published by news agencies. This data is also taken into account by investors when evaluating the assets of companies and deciding whether to invest in them.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC has submitted carbon reports in CDP format since 2016 at the request of Pirelli, Bridgestone, Continental, and Michelin companies.

Besides, in preparation for the introduction of mandatory carbon reporting in Russia, the company voluntarily prepares reports on direct and indirect energy emissions by the methods of the ministry of natural resources of Russia.

How Nizhnekamskneftekhim cares for environment

What does the company do to improve the environmental situation in the city?

I would like to note that the company takes a responsible approach to environmental issues. Since November 2003, the environmental management system has been functioning in full compliance with the international standard ISO 14001, as evidenced by the certificates of the international organization IQNet.

The Company has the necessary environmental protection facilities, the operation of which makes it possible to ensure environmental safety at a modern level.

Waste water, including storm water, is treated at its own treatment facilities, the bulk of exhaust gas is released into the atmosphere after treatment or neutralisation, unused solid hazardous waste is deposited at its own landfill. The developed system of recycled water supply makes it possible to repeatedly reduce the demand for fresh river water used as a refrigerant.

To protect the atmospheric air from pollutants, the company uses 93 gas cleaning plants of various types. For the neutralisation of flammable gases and vapours, the company has 18 flaring systems.

Since 2001, four environmental programmes have been implemented.

Would you tell us more about the activities of the fourth environmental programme aimed at protecting atmospheric air?

In 2020, the company completed the implementation of the fourth environmental programme, designed for 2014-2020. Since 2001, this has been the fourth environmental programme. During the period of its operation, 141 measures for the protection of atmospheric air were implemented, the cost of which amounted to 786,7 million rubles.

These are measures for the use of modern technologies, updating and modernising technological equipment, installing sealed pumping equipment, using stripping as fuel, excluding equipment that has run out of life from technological schemes, optimising the modes of technological processe management, and improving the automated monitoring system.

I would like to highlight the measures that significantly reduced the negative impact on the atmospheric air implemented during the fourth environmental programme: the modernisation of the alpha-olefin production with a capacity of 37,500 tonnes a year using the α-SABLIN technology; the reconstruction of biological treatment facilities, which replaced worn-out outdated equipment, new facilities hermetically sealed, prearators and settling tanks equipped with biological gas treatment plants for gas phase neutralisation; the construction of the off-site collector of industrial wastewater with the installation of biofilters for gas phase neutralisation; installation of biofilters on the wells of chemically polluted sewage; installation of a cyclone and the replacement of an electrofilter at the reactor dehydrogenation unit of Isoprene Monomer Plant and more. A lot has been done to improve the environmental situation.

Results of environmental programmes

What is the result of all these measures?

In the period from 2001 to 2020, the gross emission of pollutants at the enterprise was reduced by 63,4%, while the output of commercial products was increased by 64%. The share of pollutant emissions from Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC in the total gross emissions from industrial enterprises of the Nizhnekamsk industrial hub also decreased: as of 2006, the company's share of emissions was 50%, and by the end of 2020 — 33%.

Would you tell us about the technical side of the issue: what technologies does the company use to monitor the environment and take care of it? How modern are they?

Developing the production of petrochemical products, Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC follows the path of applying modern technologies that minimise the impact on the environment. Environmental monitoring is carried out by the department of industrial environmental control No. 3607 of the technical control department, established in 2019.

The automated system for monitoring atmospheric air has functioned at the company since 2008, control posts are installed along the perimeter of the industrial zone and on the territory of biological treatment facilities. In May 2019, Nizhnekamskneftekhim purchased a mobile environmental monitoring station for the atmosphere, through which the quality of atmospheric air is monitored around the clock in residential areas of the city of Nizhnekamsk, the nearest settlements and in the sanitary protection zone.

It is equipped with automatic gas analysers that measure the content of the main pollutants in the atmospheric air by 19 indicators. According to the approved programme, 25 sampling points have been identified at the borders of sanitary protection zones, in the nearest settlements, and on the territory of residential development in Nizhnekamsk.

All information from the air pollution control stations and from the mobile laboratory is transmitted online to the environmental server “Environmental Monitoring System”, which provides comprehensive monitoring of its state. The server collects measurement results from all control stations for further storage, processing, analysis, rapid response and reporting.

As part of the Cooperation Agreement signed in October 2017 between the ministry of ecology and natural resources of the Republic of Tatarstan and Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC, protected online access to data from five automated posts and from the mobile post for monitoring atmospheric air pollution from the company's Web server system was provided.

In turn, the ministry of ecology and natural resources of the Republic of Tatarstan transfers to Nizhnekamskneftekhim the information about exceeding the maximum permissible concentrations of pollutants in the atmospheric air from automatic air pollution control stations owned by the ministry of ecology and located in Nizhnekamsk and Nizhnekamsk district.

We have started our conversation about greenhouse gases, is Nizhnekamskneftekhim planning to develop its activities in this direction?

Yes, of course. Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC shares the concern about the problems related to climate change and intends to develop the activities aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and disclosing information about our actions in this direction.

This year, the company has started to develop a climate strategy. It will include targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strategic directions, and an action plan for achieving the targets. The climate action plan also includes the works on identifying and assessing climate risks and opportunities in accordance with the TCFD (Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures) recommendations and determining the carbon footprint of key products.

By Alsu Gusmanova
Analytics Tatarstan