Our main approach to industrial waste management lies in applying the most advanced technologies, preventing excessive build-ups of waste at the facilities of LUKOIL Group entities, and placing waste at specialized facilities that meet modern requirements.

Waste management

Most production waste in Russia and abroad falls under non-hazardous or low-hazard categories (classes).

In Russia, more than 60 percent of non-hazardous and low-hazard waste (classes IV and V under the Russian classification) consists of drilling waste and used drilling mud generated during drilling and well operation. These are mostly recycled. Their volumes depend primarily on the extent of drilling and repair work, and they are mainly disposed of by contractors.

We employ a pitless drilling technology on environmentally exposed areas in Russia, according to which generated drilling waste is not stored or landfilled at drilling sites, but sent away for use or neutralization.

The share of hazardous waste (Hazard Classes I–III) was about 2 percent as at the beginning and end of 2020. Classes I and II wastes containing substances that are dangerous to human life and health and cause permanent changes in eco-systems are subject to mandatory disposal by specialized organizations. Hazard Class III (moderate) waste includes a portion of oil-containing waste (with an oil product content above 15 percent). That is also subject to mandatory disposal.

In 2020, waste generation increased because of a higher share of construction waste at the Nizhny Novgorod and Volgograd refineries, dismantling operations to build process facilities, and a 1.5-fold increase in the volume of production drilling at LUKOIL-Komi LLC.

Most of the long-term storage waste (596 thousand tonnes) still consists of waste-activated sludge generated during wastewater treatment of the Saratovorgsintez plant and is stored at the deposition site. The site is included in the State Register of Waste Disposal Facilities.

We monitor the quality of waste management operations performed by contractors by examining how they handle waste, the state of the production control system, and availability of adequate resources to fulfill their contractual obligations.

Waste by hazard class at LUKOIL Group, thousand tonnes
2019 2020
Waste at the beginning of the reporting year Waste generated per year Waste at the end of the reporting year Waste at the beginning of the reporting year Waste generated per year Waste at the end of the reporting year
Hazardous waste - - - 46 447 46
Russian entities (Hazard Classes I–III) 23 253 21 21 304 21
Foreign entities NA NA NA 25 143 25
Non-hazardous and low-hazard waste 863 1,418 899 901 1,731 867
Russian entities (Hazard Classes IV–V) 863 1,418 899 899 1,656 863
Foreign entities - - - 2 75 4
Detailed information, including changes in reporting boundaries year-on-year, is provided in Appendix 7.
The waste management KPI was introduced to prevent accumulation of waste in Russian entities (the volume of waste generation has to match the volume of waste disposalThe KPI calculation does not take into account the volume of rock generated during shaft works at LUKOIL-Komi sites and placed at specialized waste dumps). In 2020, this KPI was met.
Waste movement at LUKOIL Group, thousand tonnes
2018 2019 2020
Waste at the beginning of the reporting year 956 910 947
Russian entities 933 886 920
Foreign entities 23 19 27
Waste generated during the reporting year 1,556 1,783 2,178
Russian entities 1,529 1,671 1,960
Including oil-containing waste 264 294 401
Foreign entities 27 112 218
Received from third parties 6 5 4
Russian entities 6 5 4
Foreign entities 0 0 0
Amount of waste used, neutralized, and handed over to specialized entities, as well as landfill waste 1,609 1,751 2,217
Russian entities 1,582 1,642 2,000
Foreign entities 27 109 217
Waste at the end of the reporting year 905 947 912
Russian entities 886 920 884
Foreign entities 24 27 28
1. Detailed information, including changes in reporting boundaries year-on-year, is provided in Appendix 7.
2. Thermal treatment is mainly used for waste neutralization.

Pre-privatization damage management

The Group entities continue their efforts to dispose of preprivatization waste; in 2020, the amount across LUKOIL Group decreased by 52 thousand tonnes (in 2019, by 69 thousand tonnes).

Before some of the oil producing and refining assets in Russia and Eastern Europe were privatized, significant volumes of oil-containing waste (oil sludge in special sludge collectors and evaporation ponds) had accumulated at production facilities. The Company refers to these as "pre-privatization environmental damages". LUKOIL disposes of this waste at its own expense at most of its facilities. As of 2020, such waste was fully processed at the refinery in Romania and LUKOIL-West Siberia, RITEK, and the Volgograd refinery in Russia. The refinery in Bulgaria continues to operate on schedule and in compliance with government funding. According to Bulgarian national legislation, the state is the owner of this waste.

Pre-privatization waste, thousand tonnes
Waste at the beginning of the reporting year Waste eliminated in the reporting year Waste at the end of the reporting year
LUKOIL Group 773 107 666
Russian entities 319 50 269
Foreign entities 454 57 397
LUKOIL Group 666 69 601
Russian entities 269 51 223
Foreign entities 397 18 378
LUKOIL Group 601 52 549
Russian entities 223 39 184
Foreign entities 378 13 365
In implementing the scheduled measures to eliminate pre-privatization damage at LUKOIL-Volgogradneftepererabotka LLC for 2020, the scope of pre-privatization damage was revised as part of a geodesic survey at the end of 2019. The total pre-privatization damage was changed from 218 thousand tonnes to 223 thousand tonnes.

Waste disposal at the Volgograd refinery

The best environmental project of LUKOIL Group in the Eco-Project 2020 competition was the project for the complete disposal of pre-privatization waste at the Volgograd refinery.

The Volgograd refinery was one of the first refining facilities to join the LUKOIL Group in the early 1990s. The refinery began operations in 1957. The plant’s wastewater treatment system was designed to meet the then-existing standards: buffer ponds were dug out on an area of about 20 hectares, an emergency pit and sludge collectors were built to receive all the refinery’s wastes. Open structures holding liquid waste were sources of air pollutant emissions.

In 2004, the refinery began processing oil-containing sludge. These operations were completed in 2020. A total of more than 921 thousand cubic meters of old oil-containing sludge were processed over 17 years. The environmental effect from this multi-year project was to reduce air pollutant emissions by 1.5 thousand tonnes per year and to remediate and restore large areas previously occupied by treatment facilities (evaporation ponds).

In 2015–2019, more than 80 thousand drought- and salinity-resistant shrubs were planted on the grounds of the former sewage treatment plants. Even though all the shrubs were planted in untreated soil, thanks to modern planting and care techniques, they took root and quickly began to grow. In the meantime, steppe vegetation started overgrowing the area. As a result, it was possible to restore the soil fertility on lands previously unusable. Today, the verdant shrubs are home to hares and foxes, birds, and insects.

Land remediation

Remediation of oil-contaminated land is carried out by Russian oil and gas production entities at all fields. In 2020, 44 hectares of land were reclaimed.

Following an oil spill and after the cleanup of the leaks and site containment, the contaminated land remediation stage begins. Specialized organizations carry out the entire scope of reclamation activities on a contractual basis following the remediation projects. These projects are developed and approved under established procedures.

The remediation comprises the following stages:

  • technical (collecting as many pollutants as possible and replacing contaminated surface soil, applying oil-oxidizing biopreparations, loosening soil for better aeration);
  • biological (sowing seeds or seedlings, fertilizing).

Remediation may involve complete removal of the contaminated layer, which is moved to specialized bioremediation sites, while clean soil is brought to the reclaimed area for biological remediation. When the contaminated area is significant, the most effective method is the microbiological decomposition of oil at the spill site. Once the content of hydrocarbons in the soil is reduced to low levels, the restored areas are replanted for phytoremediation of the land. If the contamination degree is average, plant cover of the site takes two years, bringing the entire remediation process to two-three years.

After the remediation, the respective state authorities inspect the reclaimed areas for compliance with the established criteria.

Dynamics of generation and remediation of contaminated land, hectares
Indicator boundaries Land area at the beginning of the year Land remediated during the year Land contaminated during the year Land area at the end of the year
Total across LUKOIL Group 61.3 50.3 52.1 63.1
Russian entities 57.5 50.3 52.1 59.3
Foreign entities 3.8 0 0 3.8
Total across LUKOIL Group 63.1 56.6 40.0 46.4
Russian entities 59.3 56.6 40.0 42.6
Foreign entities 3.8 0 0 3.8
Total across LUKOIL Group 46.4 44.4 136.6 138.6
Russian entities 42.6 44.4 136.6 134.8
Foreign entities 3.8 0.03 0.03 3.8
  1. Data for foreign entities for 2018 pertain to LUKOIL Neftohim Burgas, PETROTEL-LUKOIL SA, LUKOIL Uzbekistan Operating Company, for 2019-2020 — to the above entities and to ISAB, IOOO LUKOIL Belorussia, and LUKOIL-BULGARIA EOOD.
  2. The increase in contaminated land in 2020 was due to the land contaminated after the 2019 water spill the in Komi Republic was factored in.

Contaminated land remediation at LUKOIL-West Siberia

Land contamination resulting from long-term oil production is one of the principal environmental concerns in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area — Yugra. In 1998, there was even a discussion about declaring the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area — Yugra an emergency disaster area. This issue also concerned the areas where LUKOIL entities had acquired licenses with a significant concentration of contaminated land. The Company adopted its first reclamation programs to restore ecosystems and began extensive and systematic work to return these areas to their natural state. During the initial stage of the programs, LUKOIL conducted research and exploration work and developed remediation technologies using microbiology which were specifically tailored to northern territories. Based on the results of the research, we developed and began implementing our remediation projects.

Thanks to the implementation of these projects, the accumulated waste at the licensed areas of LUKOIL-West Siberia was completely remediated by 2019. Since 2019, remediation has been underway at all sites contaminated as a result of current incidents. By taking measures to improve reliability of pipelines, detect leaks and respond to them in real time, we are able to annually reduce the average area of contamination. Our goal is to steadily increase the period of accident-free operation of pipelines.

Changes in the contaminated land area

Data for LUKOIL-West Siberia LLC are given in hectares (1 hectare = 2.47 acres).