In 2014 a group-wide assessment was conducted to identify potentially sensitive areas on which efforts should be focused in the future. The study has been updated in 2017. A sensitive area is defined by 3 indicators: it may be a biodiversity critical site (a geographically legally-defined area that is designated, regulated, or managed to achieve specific conservation objectives, including NATURA 2000), a water body-affected site (e.g. a Ramsar-listed wetland or water scarce area) or a landscape critical site (a site that is protected for its cultural or recreational value).
In total, 162 sites were surveyed in 2014 and 203 in 2017. Only 8 sites are in biodiversity-critical areas (6 Upstream and 2 Downstream), while 35 Upstream operations are located close to or within Natura 2000 sites (European nature conservation areas). Two of the Upstream operations are situated in water-stressed areas (see chapter on Water) while one can be found in a water-protected landscape.
The MOL Group HSE Management System has introduced the compulsory elaboration of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment studies for all new development or major modifications of the existing facilities and the obligation to have Biodiversity Action Plans in place for all critical sites.
Below is an overview of our operations which have an impact on natural protected areas both according to a divisional and a geographical breakdown. In the ‘case studies’ section of this website we also present certain projects that were implemented to preserve biodiversity.
DIVISIONAL SUMMARY OF IMPACTS
REFINERIES AND PETROCHEMICAL PLANTS
Our refineries and petrochemical plants are typically located in industrial areas, and in most cases near surface water bodies.
Biodiversity efforts are focused on avoiding the disturbance of protected species (especially birds) over the area of the plants and on preserving the biodiversity and status of water habitats located near to refineries. One example of this is found at the TVK petrochemical plant in Tiszaújváros (Hungary) where water habitats exist on the artificial ponds that were originally built as the last phase of a waste water treatment system. These habitats are directly connected to the Tisza River. TVK Petrochemical Plant pays particular attention to preserving biological diversity over its territory.
EXPLORATION AND PRODUCTION
Our E&P operations often happen in or near to protected areas. Our environmental footprint includes land use, emissions and increased human activity which can disturb flora and fauna. To reduce the harmful effects of these activities, initial status surveys and audits are conducted by our staff. Drilling activities are scheduled carefully, taking into consideration the vegetative period. MOL Group works in close cooperation with National Parks and other stakeholders to properly plan and control these activities.
In 2015/2016 a group wide programme to developed and update existing biodiversity actions plan for all upstream sites that were considered critical has been implemented.
LOGISTICS AND GAS TRANSMISSION
In the logistics and natural gas transmission operations of MOL Group pipeline construction works have the most significant impact on biodiversity. In order to the decrease negative impacts (e.g. disturbance of local species, soil pollution/compaction), we work together with nature protection authorities and NGOs to find optimal solutions:
- At the planning phase, MOL Group tries to find and use access tracks which least disturb nature and avoid native forests, natural parks and areas of high biodiversity value.
- Environmental impact assessments (EIA) always include nature protection/ biodiversity chapters and nature protection experts are employed to continuously monitor construction work. After the work is finished, the areas are monitored to see whether the original state of nature has been restored.
- For each tree that has to be cut down it is replaced with two more at a different location selected by experts.
- To protect nature, MOL strives to use narrower construction areas in forests (20 m instead of the normal 30 m).
- After a phase of construction, we re-cultivate the affected areas.
- Our Logistics pipelines are equipped with technical supervisory systems which continuously monitor the conditions of the pipelines and which sound an alert in any case of irregularity to enable immediate action to be taken. This helps avoid malfunctions and hazardous situations.
SELECTED BIODIVERSITY ACTIONS FROM OUR COUNTRIES OF OPERATION
Hungarian E&P operations often occur in or near to protected areas. MOL’s environmental footprint includes land use, emissions and increased human activity which can disturb flora and fauna. To reduce the harmful effects of these activities, initial status surveys and audits are conducted by MOL’s staff. Drilling activities are scheduled carefully, taking into consideration the vegetative period. MOL works in close cooperation with National Parks and authorities to properly plan and manage these activities. After completing an activity or decommissioning a well, soil tests are performed to verify that the original state of the land has been restored.
In 2014 the inventory that contains all of MOL’s wells and operating sites that are located in or near Natura 2000 and nature conservation areas was updated. In 2015 for all these sites, Biodiversity Action Plans have been developed. For some site, we are closely cooperating with local NGOs or National Parks representatives.
Examples of cooperation with National Parks:
- Hungarian Ornithological and Nature Conservation Society - Peregrine Falcon Conservation Programme: Peregrine Falcon and Kestrel nesting at MOL’s Algyő gas facility
- Hortobágy National Park: donation to the European Bison (Bison bonasus) introduction program
- Kiskunsági National Park: active cooperation for the conservation of the Carnation (Dianthus diutinus), donation to support the Crane migration program
- Duna-Dráva National Park: donation to the complex nature conservation status assessment program for the Barcsi-Ó-Dráva area
A project for the protection and management of the nesting of the common house martin (Delichon Urbicum) in the production area of Vlčie hrdlo (Bratislava Refinery and Petchem unit) has been launched. Delichon Urbicum is a protected bird species according to Slovak legislation with a social value of cca 170 Euros. The result of the project is the following: more than 60 aluminum pads were placed under artificial and original nests (the pads prevent soiling of structures underneath them) and 50 artificial nests were installed in places where the birds cannot endanger the safety of operations. Approximately 80% of the artificial nests are now successfully occupied. The project was undertaken in cooperation with the NGO experts BirdLife Slovakia.
INTERNATIONAL E&P COUNTRIES
In Pakistan, site specific Biodiversity Action Plans are incorporated in Environmental Assessment Reports. An afforestation project has been initiated a couple of years ago: as a first step 2,000 trees have been planted in 2015 and further 1000 eucalyptus in 2016. Around 100 artificial nest boxes for birds have been installed in selected locations.