Press release

Cepsa devotes €46.6 million to environmental improvements in Huelva in 2018

18 Jun 2019

    • The energy company increases its level of investment and environmental management, which totals €821 million since 1997
    • For another year, Cepsa presents its declarations and provides an e-mail comunicacion.huelva@cepsa.com account for responding to citizen's concers

Cepsa has presented the environmental declarations for the La Rábida Refinery and the Palos Chemical Plant, its two operating centers in the province of Huelva. These documents contain all the duly audited information relating to the environmental performance of these facilities during 2018.

2019 will mark 20 years since the first publication of Cepsa Química's environmental declaration, and the 10th anniversary of its verification for inclusion in the international register of eco-audited centers pursuant to the EMAS Regulation. It will also mark 22 years in the Refinery, which was the first in Spain to obtain EMAS registration.

In the past year, both centers have complied with all the requirements set out in their respective Integrated Environmental Authorizations (IEAs) granted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, and have kept their emission levels well below the permitted limits.

Environmental investment and spending amounted to €46.6 million in 2018. Since 1997, a total of €821 million has been spent on the Huelva facilities. This investment went toward projects for improving energy efficiency, reducing atmospheric emissions and treating wastewater, among others.

As regards the achievement of objectives, the result was very positive, with a figure of 97.2% for the Refinery and 99.1% for the Chemical Plant. The measures taken to improve the management and reduction of emissions, discharges and waste were particularly effective.

La Rábida Refinery. Main Results

Annual average concentrations were below the limits set out in the Integrated Environmental Authorization, with values ranging from 5% to 23% of the permitted limit. With these figures, the contribution of gas emissions to the average pollutant immission values measured at the stations of the Air Quality Monitoring and Surveillance Network of Andalusia, both in Huelva city and in the province, is marginal with respect to the applicable limits.

In terms of total SO2 emissions according to the quantity of crude processed, a value of 0.24 kg SO2/t of treated crude was obtained, the lowest of the entire historical series. Since 2000, a reduction of 89% has been achieved.

The discharge quality has seen a significant improvement since 1995. The cumulative reduction is 76%. The level of compliance with the legally established control parameters has been very close to 100%.

In 2018, the total quantity of waste was 21,328 tons. Cepsa prioritizes management that ensures the most efficient use. To this end, 14,200 tons were recovered, representing 67.5% of the total, the highest annual figure of the historical series.

With the aim of improving the energy efficiency index, in 2014 the Refinery obtained certification for its Energy Management System. This certification aims to promote efficiency, reduce the gas emissions that cause climate change, guarantee compliance with legislation and ensure the best possible use of surplus energy. In 2018, the energy efficiency index was 83.7. Since 2010, efficiency has risen 14.9 units.

In recent years, the sulfur specifications for automotive diesel and petrol have lowered their content to 0.001% (10 ppm). In order to comply with this requirement, Cepsa has invested in making improvements and enhancements to its desulfurization processes. These investments allow a reduction in the SO2 emissions of these products in cities through the exhaust pipes of vehicles in general, thereby improving air quality. Cepsa went a step further in 2018 by reducing the percentage of sulfur in these fuels by 35% and 26% respectively over and above the legal requirement.

On the other hand, European directives and Spanish legislation have set goals for 2018 to ensure that 6% of the energy present in all our petrol and diesel fuels comes from the use of biofuels. In addition, the percentage of biodiesel in automotive diesel produced at the Refinery, made from vegetable oils from the Bio Oils Energy plant, was 5.5%, plus a further 1.3% of hydro-treated vegetable oil (HVO) processed directly in the Refinery's units. The actual level of biofuels used in Cepsa's diesel and petrol fuels in 2018 was 6.27%, 4.5% higher than the target set.

Main results of the Palos Chemical Plant

By using only gaseous fuels, principally natural gas, for the production processes of the Palermo petrochemical center, particle and SO2 emissions are minimal, falling below the detection limits. With regard to NOx (nitrogen oxide) emissions, the annual emissions average of the main source is maintained below the limits established by the legislation.

During 2018, Cepsa maintained a high discharge quality index, expressed as a global indicator of the main parameters limited by the Integrated Environmental Authorization. The cumulative reduction since 1998 is 92.8%.

In this period, 3,325 tons of waste were managed, of which 696 tons (20.9%) will be sent for recovery.

Since 2015, Cepsa's Chemical Plant has held UNE EN-ISO 50001 certification for its Energy Management System. In 2018 the energy efficiency index was 4.9% lower than in 2017. Since 2010 it has improved by 13.5% thanks to investment and optimization of operations.

As regards the balance of CO emissions, the third rights trading period (2013-2020) began in 2013. The 2018 balance for the two Huelva centers showed a deficit of 675,472CO rights, due to the fact that their electricity cogeneration facilities, as in the whole of Europe, have stopped receiving free rights.

Fundación Cepsa in the environment

2018 saw a continuation of the educational, research, maintenance and public use programs in the Laguna Primera de Palos Lake and the Marismas del Odiel Nature Reserve, backed by the collaboration agreements with the Regional Government of Andalusia. In 2018 more than 4,200 people visited these spaces.

In addition, through collaboration agreements with other bodies and public administrations, activities were carried out to promote research into sustainability, environmental education, care and enhancement of the environment, and the development of environmentally friendly policies.

Continue reading 3 min 5 min