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Refineries
 

Sector's classified installations

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Classified Installations Legislation references

Amended order of 4 September 1967 establishing layout and operating rules for plants processing raw petroleum, its derivatives and residue,
Ministerial orders of 9 November 1972 and 19 November 1975 relative to layout and operating rules for liquid hydrocarbons depots,
Order of 4 September 1986 relative to the reduction in the air emissions of hydrocarbons from storage activities,
Circular and technical instruction of 9 November 1989 relative to old flammable liquid depots
Order of 9 November 1989 relative to the distancing conditions to which the permit authorisation for new liquefied flammable gas tanks is subject, order of 10 May 1993 relative to the storage of liquefied flammable gases under pressure
Order of 8 December 1995 relative to the control of volatile organic compound emissions resulting from the storage of petrol and its distribution from terminals to service stations,
Amended order of 2 February 1998 relative to the water withdrawal and consumption as well as all types of emissions of classified installations for environmental protection,
Order of 22 June 1998 relative to underground tanks of flammable liquids and associated equipment,
Ministerial order of 30 July 2003 and amended Circular of 30 July 2003 relative to existing combustion installations of over 20 MW
Order of 13/12/04 relative to permit holding cooling installations dispersing water into an air stream under section no. 2921
Order of 13/12/04 relative to the general requirements applicable to classified installations for environmental protection with a declaration obligation under section no. 2921 Cooling installations dispersing water into an air stream
Decree of 25 February 2005 relative to the allocation of greenhouse gas emission quotas Order of 25 February 2005 relative to the allocation of greenhouse gas emission quotas



Context, issues and problems

Refining is a worldwide process. The long term forecast predicts high prices of raw petroleum, due to the progressive depletion of resources and the necessary adaptation of refining tools to market demand.

Production in France and Europe is far from balanced, with excessive petrol production and a serious deficit in diesel oil production. This situation, combined with a marked evolution in product quality, notably in terms of sulphur content, results in a considerable investment requirement to respond to the issues at stake, i.e. numerous extension or modification projects in classified installations… Technically speaking, the refining process is not in need of catalytic cracking as much as hydrocracking and hydrotreatment with high hydrogen pressure and, in the long term, more barrel bottom treatment.

There are currently 12 refineries in France, which treated over 86 million tons of raw petroleum in 2006, with an availability rate of nearly 90%. The main 4 refining companies operating in France are Total, Shell, Esso and INEOS. The regions concerned are Haute Normandie, Provence Alpes Côtes d’Azur, Rhône-Alpes, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Pays-de-la-Loire, Ile de France and Alsace.

Risks of accident:

  • Fire, hydrocarbon fires, gas explosions, according to the combustible materials used
  • accidental emissions of toxic substances (H2S, HF in case of alkylation)
  • water pollution (extinguishing water)

Main environmental nuisances:

  • Air pollution: SO2 (with a surveillance and alert procedure in case of a peak in SO2 or NOx), VOC, dust, metal emissions;
  • Health hazards associated with the emissions of toxic substances, volatile organic compounds (notably benzene)
  • Water and soil pollution
  • Polluted sites and soil
  • Noise associated with the circulation of transport vehicles, loading and unloading equipment etc.

2Prevention and protection measures: 2

The measures taken to reduce the risk at source are extremely varied in light of the multitude of situations encountered, from the follow-up of the processes to the monitoring of the different depots (storage of raw petroleum, refined products, liquefied flammable gases etc.)

Fire detection and control resources remain a key issue in refineries and require on-site professional firefighting teams, completed in most cases on major industrial platforms by mutual assistance agreements with other neighbouring chemical or petrochemical companies.

Refineries are “upper tier” SEVESO sites for most of their activities. Risk assessment reports for new or modified installations, revised or additional risk assessment reports required by the legislation, provide a mapping of effect areas and therefore potential hazards affecting these installations. This mapping process, combined with the mapping of the issues related to the vulnerability of the local environment, is a crucial element in the execution of PPRTs (Technological Risk Prevention Plans) in refineries and their related installations.

The prevention of water pollution and, when necessary, the recovery of polluted water and extinguishing water, the monitoring of the special waste produced, should be constant concerns as should the monitoring of internal polluted sites and soil.

The distancing from housing areas and, if required, specific acoustic measures during the design phase, should reduce noise to a tolerable level.

In light of the increasing expectations of local residents, special attention is paid to the monitoring of air pollution occurrences (in particular SO2) or odours, for which population information and alert procedures have been in place for several years. These procedures are regularly updated according to the evolution in regulatory requirements and experience feedback.

The issues of chronic exposure of the population to air emissions and the generated health hazards are increasingly the focus of debate, as are the consequences of long-distance emissions on the environment and human health. Specific air protection plans (PPA) and related actions, undertaken by industrial companies under the authority of the Inspectorate, are a response to the legitimate expectations of employees or local residents (action to reduce SO2-NOx emissions by 2008 –2010, action to control VOC emissions, notably benzene, etc.).

Refineries are subject to the CO2 emissions trading scheme.



Ongoing actions in the sector

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Useful sites

UFIP: French Union of Petroleum Industries
DGEMP: Directorate General for Energy and Raw Materials
INERIS: proposes a search engine for access to information on refineries or the storage of petroleum products, liquefied combustible gases (to be verified) etc.