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Prevention of spills

Repsol has an internal regulation to Marine and Fluvial Oil Spill Management, in compliance with the provisions of the company's Health, Safety and Environmental Policy regarding the prevention of impacts and the minimization of risks caused by our activities and installations.

Most spills that take place in the oil and gas industry result from exploration and production activity.

During 2011, we recorded an increase in the amount of hydrocarbon spilled compared to the previous year due to causes beyond the company's control, mainly a diesel spill of 644 m3 in Logistics activities in the Lujn de Cuyo- Villa Mercedes pipeline in Argentina. We took following the spill to implement our contingency plan, conducted an initial study of the impact on the land, repaired the broken pipeline and remediated the soil affected by extraction, transfer and subsequent treatment.

Not including spills deriving from external events, in 2011 the amount spilled fell by 10%, although the number of spills increased by 5%.

Most of the spills took place in exploration and production activities in Argentina, largely due to problems of corrosion in the production pipelines. Therefore, in 2011 we continued to implement our Integrity Plan for Installations, including:

  • Preparation of criticality matrices derived from past breakage records
  • Generation of pipeline risk analyses for future projects to include additional improvements in installations at greater risk
  • Preparation of pipeline inspection plans to assess their conditions
  • Implementation of a corrosion management system to program and record all monitoring activity and anticorrosion treatment, and provide training to all personnel involved.

During 2011, we invested €10 million and replaced 74,000 meters of pipeline.

Meanwhile, in refining and logistics activities in Argentina, we also continued to build action plans to reduce spills. These covered three aspects:

  • Spills arising from road transport: Driver assessment, determining drivers' qualifications or requirement for specific training; progressive elimination of trailer trucks and improving air- tightness of upper lids on tanks
  • Spills in pipeline transport: Development of the damage prevention program that includes land and air patrols, as well as the internal review of pipelines
  • Spills in refineries: Development of our underground pipeline identification and replacement plan; and development of the hydrocarbon storage tank inspection plan through technical and environmental audits.

We have begun implementing the action plan in the maritime area of Tarragona (Spain) to improve environmental protection and this plan involves a total investment of €131 million over the next four years.

Trends in the number of hydrocarbon spills. Trends in the amount of hydrocarbon spilled

Protecting the marine environment

In late 2010, Repsol approved a new corporate/internal rule/regulation on Sea and River Spill Management. Its purpose is to manage incidents of spills of hydrocarbons, harmful and potentially hazardous products in the sea and rivers, in compliance with the company's Health, Safety and Environment policy. During 2011, we created a sea and river pollution management working group, formed by Repsol's different business units. We also held a specific workshop in Peru to raise awareness of this rule/regulation.

The company also participates in the main sector forums on spill prevention, risk analysis and response preparation, both in national platforms and international associations. We participate in different working groups to adopt lessons learned in the industry and adapt to the requirements of international bodies. These associations include: Protecma (Technological Platform for Coastal and Marine Environment Protection), ARCOPOL (Atlantic Regions Coastal Pollution Response), MOIG (Mediterranean Oil Industry Group), IPIECA (International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association) and ARPEL (Regional Association of Oil, Gas and Biofuels Sector Companies in Latin America and the Caribbean).

Actions in the maritime area of Tarragona (Spain)

In light of two spills on the coast of Tarragona in early 2011 Repsol, as an extension of the actions carried out to date, developed an integrated action plan in the maritime area of Tarragona. The plan aims to improve environmental protection, enhancing the quality and safety of company operations on the coast.

The plan involves a total investment of €131 million over the next four years, essentially assigned to ensuring the integrity and reliability of Repsol's Upstream (Casablanca platform) and Downstream installations (jetty and outer rack) on the coast of Tarragona.

The scope of the plan at the Casablanca platform amounts to an estimated investment of €50 million, focused mainly on extending the life of the platform and implementation of best available technologies.

Our main activities during 2011 included completing the inspections and tests required to extend the life of the platform, resulting certification for a 10-year life extension, issued by Lloyds Register; conducting the SIL (Safety Integrated Level) study to reduce risks using safety instrumented systems, and introducing the recommended improvements; and developing and commissioning of an early spill detection system in the platform area with the assistance of Harbor Master's Office.

Meanwhile, we have estimated an investment of €81 million in the jetty and external rack installations, which will extend the reliability of the installations and make technological improvements that will deliver the highest safety standards on the market.

During 2011, we assigned capital expenditure of €28.15 million to begin implementation of priority actions to renew pipelines in the external rack, the full inspection of the pipeline surfaces on the jetty and improvements in the external rack arising from multi-year maintenance plans. We also undertook engineering for technological improvement actions such as installing remote shutoff systems on the jetty and spill detection systems, as well as installing bunding to contain any spilled substance in the event of spills. All these actions will continue in through 2014, when Repsol has committed to the full completion of the plan.

Deepwater operations

In 2011 we drilled the first exploratory well in deep sea waters off Argentina, in the Falklands basin. The exploratory test drill was located approximately 330 km from the coast of Tierra del Fuego (Ro Grande), 210 km from the Falkland Island coast and 130 kilometers from the Isla de los Estados, at depths of around 500 meters.

We drilled in a remote area, under adverse environmental and weather conditions, a major challenge for the company and the staff involved in the operation, totalling one thousand working in multidisciplinary teams.

We acted using best industry practices, the highest safety and environmental standards and with state-of-the-art equipment.

During the planning stage, we prepared an occupational health and safety and environment management plan to establish guidelines for the design and execution of the well and to set performance targets.

Our sustainability actions included:

  • Identification of stakeholders that might be affected, influenced and/or have an interest in the project
  • Identification of hazards, risk assessment and control at the start of activity, including environmental aspects and acting as we do for any new activity, operation or procedure or significant change before implementation
  • Preparation of an environmental impact study to identify and evaluate the potential environmental impacts of the project, determine the best ways to reduce and mitigate them, as well as the development of the response plan for possible contingencies. The study included testing the performance of our models under different situations
  • Development of an environmental management plan to enable the project to operate in harmony with the natural and human environment, and to comply with environmental, land use, safety and hygiene legislation. We took weekly records of fuel, water and chemical product consumption, as well as of waste and discharge management. We also conducted periodic monitoring of wastewater quality, discharge of muds and drill cuttings, sea water quality, gas emissions and marine wildlife
  • Preparation of an emergency response plan for the project, including the contingency plan for possible hydrocarbon spills. This plan includes a scaled response by risk levels, and for immediate response to any environmental contingencies we contracted a dedicated vessel, sailing under the Argentine flag, which remained next to the drilling equipment throughout the operation
  • Conducting meetings at the outset of the contract with the occupational health and safety and environmental representatives of contracted companies to ensure compliance with internal policies and procedures, on-board staff conditions and the project environmental management plan
  • Preparation of the occupational health and safety and environmental training plan determined by the project needs; the plan was implemented from the planning phase.
(80) Spills greater than one barrel which affect the environment. Since 2008, we itemize our figures on spills stemming from extreme events separately. In 2011, these numbered 58 hydrocarbon spills.
(81) Spills greater than one barrel which affect the environment. Since 2008, we itemize spills stemming from external events. In 2011, these amounted to a total spillage of 664 tons of hydrocarbons.