A new step towards the future

The site of the former Matosinhos refinery is going to take a new step towards the future. On the 23rd of October 2023 we began demolition work on this industrial complex. More than the end of an era, we see this moment as a new beginning: the reconversion of the refinery and the realisation of a vision for the future, aligned with the principles of innovation, energy transition and sustainability.

Overview and timetable

These works will take place over a period of approximately two and a half years and include a wide range of measures to monitor, control and mitigate possible specific constraints, whether related to noise, dust, odours or vehicle movements.

The demolition plan, the first phase of which will be carried out in the southern area with th demolition of the storage tanks, has been submitted to the Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente and Galp is committed to strict compliance, adopting all measures to protect the people involved in the demolition work and minimise any risks to public health and the environment.

This will be the most visible face of a decommissioning process that began in 2021. During this period, a wide range of preparatory operations were implemented, including the safe shutdown of the process units, as well as the cleaning and degassing of all process units, equipment and pipework in order to guarantee the elimination of hydrocarbons and products.

Once decommissioning, dismantling and demolition are complete, the environmental soil rehabilitation phase will follow.

Areas of intervention on the site

Image gallery

Questions and answers

Categorised into five main topics, the answers below reiterate the general lines of the project and its timetable, as well as the measures that Galp will implement to monitor, control and mitigate possible specific constraints following the work in progress.


The operational phase of the Matosinhos refinery demolition process began on the 23rd of October. Work will begin on the storage tanks and is expected to last two and a half years. This work plan has been approved by the Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente and Galp is committed to strict compliance.

The process of decommissioning, dismantling and demolishing the former Matosinhos refinery is a large and complex process that began after the closure of this industrial unit.

The process involved a wide range of preparatory operations, including:

  • The safe shutdown of the processing units (with existing crude stocks being processed beforehand)
  • The process of cleaning and degassing all the processing units, equipment and pipework to guarantee the elimination of all hydrocarbons and products and to ensure safe conditions for the demolition work
  • Cleaning work on equipment and pipework
  • The physical separation of the refinery to be demolished from the logistics park, which remains in operation to ensure supplies to the north of the country

In addition, the complexity of the procedure also extends to the entire licensing process associated with an operation of this scale, including all the preparatory work up to the issuing of the demolition licences (which involved opinions from a significant number of public bodies) or tenders for choosing contractors, for example.

Citizens' health and well-being

Since the closure of the facilities, all measures have been taken to minimise possible risks to public health, which will continue as the work progresses.

Over the last two years, the Galp team, together with its partners, has inertised and removed potentially harmful products from all the process units, tanks and pipes.

At the same time, through its decommissioning plan, it has put in place a strict procedure for the control and disposal of substances that could pose a risk to public health during the dismantling activities.

It is natural that a project of this size may occasionally cause dust associated with the dismantling/demolition of certain infrastructures.

The emission of dust and other previously identified substances will be monitored throughout the demolition process of the Matosinhos refinery. In addition, control measures will be implemented during the work to minimise emissions.

It should be noted that the demolition plan has been submitted to the Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente, together with the Dust Management Plan, and Galp is committed to strict compliance and to monitoring the effectiveness of the minimisation measures.

It's natural that a project of this size may occasionally cause noise that goes beyond the refinery's boundaries, particularly at specific times when larger infrastructures are being demolished.

The specialised company contracted for the demolition process will implement various noise protection measures, such as installing fences with wind protection curtains around the tank area or installing a wall of containers to make the sound return to the work area and thus mitigate its transmission to the residential area.

It should be noted that the plan was submitted to the Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente, which also raised no questions or obstacles on the subject of noise caused by demolition activities.

Occasional constraints

Measures will be put in place to mitigate constraints or road cuts during the day, and it is not expected that there will be any substantial constraints on traffic during the work.

No restrictions are planned on access to the beaches and walkways during the process of demolishing the infrastructure of the former Matosinhos refinery. All the planned work is confined to the interior of the refinery and no prolonged occupation of the public space is planned.

Soil and groundwater

The environmental characterisation process has already begun. Soil remediation will only take place once the demolition work has been completed, unless there are situations that require it and in agreement with the competent authorities (Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente and CCDR-Norte).

A complete picture of the state of contamination of the refinery's soil and groundwater will only be possible after decommissioning. This will be a long-term, phased process that will take place in pre-defined intervention areas.

The process of soil and groundwater remediation will depend on their state of affectation and future use, which has not yet been defined.

The duration of this work will also depend on the methodologies that are deemed appropriate for each area of intervention. The remediation plan is subject to licensing by the CCDR-Norte and the remediation solutions and their timetable will be established there.


The aim is to preserve and enhance the memory and history of the site. This is seen as a differentiating factor and a strong point of the urbanisation project.

The facilities to be kept were defined in conjunction with the Matosinhos City Council, taking into account their impact and future potential use, but also the implications for demolition work and the maintenance and conservation of the structures to be preserved, as well as the environmental remediation of the site.

Galp and Matosinhos City Council have already agreed on the guiding principles for the redevelopment project in the area of the former Matosinhos refinery, which are fundamental to the design of a Masterplan. 

The macro perspective of this redevelopment project is based on the ability to attract national and international mobilising investments that guarantee qualified employment, namely through the configuration of a technological hub, structured around a university campus, a technology park and business centres.

The redevelopment should also guarantee a plural urban structure in its different scales and modes of mobility, applying the urban planning principles of 'Eco Smart Cities15', in harmony with the environmental ecosystem and respecting the specific characteristics of the seafront.

Contact us

Any questions, requests for clarification, complaints or suggestions relating to the demolition process should be sent to matosinhos@galp.com.