European refineries cut oil discharges

Downward emissions trend continues in 1997 despite increase in throughput

European oil refineries reduced discharges of oil in aqueous emissions between 1993 and 1997, continuing a long-term trend, according to a report issued by Concawe, the European oil industry's environment, health and safety body. Based on survey returns from 105 refineries in EU countries plus Norway, Switzerland and Hungary, Concawe says that 1,168 tonnes of oil were released with aqueous effluents in 1997. This is 42% less than recorded in its last survey carried out in 1993 and 97% less than reported in the organisation's first survey in 1969. The reduction between 1993 and 1997 was achieved despite a 10% increase in oil throughput in this period, the organisation reports. According to Concawe, 88% of the refineries surveyed now carry out biological treatment of their effluents before discharge. It also reports for the first time on discharges of ammonia, sulphides and phenols by refineries. Emissions fell significantly between 1993 and 1997, according to the organisation, though a lack of agreed analytical methods makes the exact numbers subject to uncertainty. As in previous years, Concawe has forwarded survey results relating to 65 refineries in the North Sea / Atlantic Ocean area to the Oslo and Paris Commission (Ospar), which will issue its own report.

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