Protection of biodiversity, water and soil

Galp is committed to preserve biodiversity and protect water resources in all geographies, contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We participate in programs of protection and recovery of species and habitats in the areas where we develop projects, and assess our natural resources impact, particularly in protected and sensitive areas, or in water scarcity areas.

Biodiversity Management

At Galp, we are dedicated to safeguarding biodiversity and ecosystem services in all geographies in which we operate, and to ensure its preservation over the entire lifecycle of our projects. This takes on particular significance given the expansion of our activities.

We are committed not to operate/explore/mine/drill in World Heritage areas and IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Category I-IV protected areas.

All projects are subject to environmental impact assessment and monitoring, applying the mitigation hierarchy (avoid, minimize, restore and offset) in areas in which we operate with globally or nationally important biodiversity. We introduced into our analysis the approach set out under the Natural Capital Protocol in order to measure the economic value of environmental impacts and reflect the value added to society.

If we identify sensitive areas that may be affected by projects, we assess the risk and, if necessary, define a Biodiversity Action Plan.

When and if a significant biodiversity impact occurs throughout the project life cycle, we implement the actions necessary to minimize the risk of any adverse effects, to the minimum acceptable level (i.e. designed to have no biodiversity net loss, when possible - No Net Loss).

Over the years, we have developed procedures to strengthen our commitment to minimizing the impact of our activities on biodiversity and ecosystem services. These include internal guides to integrating biodiversity into environmental and social impact assessments (ESIASs) and to identifying and implementing suitable solutions to the management of upstream activities in areas with high biodiversity. These procedures are aligned with international and national law, such as:

  • International Maritime Organization (IMO)
  • International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP)
  • International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA)

We participate in O&G sector initiatives and working groups that contribute to the development of knowledge about good practices in the management of biodiversity and ecosystem services. We aim to improve and deepen our knowledge on how to recognize and manage the impacts of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Other relevant references:

Risk Screening for Biodiversity

We identify the risks and impacts through the annual update of the mapping of biodiversity protection and conservation areas in our operations by applying the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT).

Every year, we evaluate 100% of our operational activities (85 sites in 2020), using this tool.

According to the IBAT tool, the results obtained show that none of our operational sites is located in an area of significant relevance for biodiversity. For this reason, no restoration or compensation measures have been required to date.

We also emphasize that in the phase of opportunities identification, we take into account biodiversity issues into upstream project selection and decision-making.

Location of Operations and Protected Areas

We have considered the most important areas in terms of biodiversity conservation, including areas protected by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and UNESCO World Heritage.

Our existing operations are not located in areas classified by the IUCN as level I to IV protected.


Classification of Protected Area In situ Radius of 10km Radius of 50km
IUCN Protected Area Ia 0 3 15
IUCN Protected Area Ib 0 3 16
IUCN Protected Area II 0 2 11
IUCN Protected Area III 0 5 27
IUCN Protected Area IV 0 11 61
IUCN Protected Area V 0 9 41
IUCN Protected Area VI 1 3 34
Key-Area of biodiversity 3 29 149
Natura 2000 Network 2 36 227
Ramsar 0 7 35
AZE 0 0 0
UNESCO World Heritage 0 1 1

Read the Report of important biodiversity areas surrounding sites where Galp has a presence.

São Tomé and Príncipe

S. Tomé and Príncipe we carried out an Environmental, Social and Health Impact Study for an exploratory drilling and assessment programme in block 6. No impacts were identified that could not be minimised to acceptable levels by applying the mitigation measures contained in the project's Environmental and Social Management Plan. In the biodiversity area, we will adopt the guidelines of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) to minimise the risk of disturbance and harm to marine mammals. These guidelines will also protect other marine fauna, such as turtles, through the use of Marine Mammal Observers (MMO).




In 2019 we successfully completed the 3D seismic acquisition campaign for the Petroleum Exploration License. Before this operation began, an environmental impact assessment was conducted, with the objective of identifying, assessing and mitigating the possible impacts on people, the local community and the environment. To ensure maximum protection of local biodiversity, three marine mammal experts followed the entire operation aboard the ship and monitored the marine mammal species that could potentially be affected. More than 61 sightings and detections of mammals were reported, and all international best practices were followed.

Oceantech project

Galp is a partner of the Oceantech project, an operations management system based on the use of smart robotic vehicles to explore the sea around Portugal. Oceantech aims to develop a versatile passive acoustic monitoring system for marine biodiversity, positioning Portugal to take advantage of the growth in the so-called “blue economy” by exploring global opportunities.



Reforestation programs

Through the Galp Voluntária, we highlight the Terra de Esperança movement, a partnership between the Galp Foundation and the National Association of Forestry, Agriculture and Environment Companies (ANEFA) to reforest areas that were affected by the forest fires in Portugal, through Galp’s donation of 500,000 trees of native species to the association.

Find out more detailed information about this initiative here.

No Net Loss Progress

GALP Namibia PEL 83, 2019

Progress: No Net Loss

The protected species mitigation measures and monitoring efforts followed the guidelines set out by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee as well as the local law and Environmental and Social Impact Assessment.

No environmental incidents were registered during our seismic acquisition operations. There were no issues of non-compliance. All communication between Marine Mammal Observers and seismic crew was effective.

How is it measured:

Total monitoring area -  3,016 km2

Total monitoring time (visual and acoustic survey) - 60 days

Number of visual observations - 42

Number of acoustic detections - 18

Non-compliance issues – 0 (zero)


Galp is committed to reducing deforestation associated with commodities that we produce. Our focus is to avoid all deforestation of indigenous species and compensate with future reforestation, wherever it is impossible to evade deforestation. Our target is to implement all our Environmental Impact Declarations conditions and ensure full implementation of our no net deforestation initiatives.


  Progress 2020 Target 2021
Number of sites that avoided deforestation 18 8
Number of sites that required reforestation compensation measures 19 7

Protection of water resources

Water is an essential resource for life. Besides being a fundamental element in the food chain, it is an important support for various industrial processes and economic activities. Its quality is critical to the health and well-being of populations. The risks associated with water quality and availability are numerous and proportionate to the trends in population growth and industrialization. The security of water resources is essential, especially considering climate change and its impacts.

We are committed to the adoption of measures that lead to a more efficient and sustainable water use in our operations. Regarding the quality of resources, Galp monitors the quality of groundwater in its upstream and downstream operations, namely the onshore operated blocks and refineries. All samples collected in the soil and groundwater monitoring campaign, carried out this year, and the analyzed parameters (heavy metals, PAH, TPH), presented values below the reference limits.

We are actively engaged with stakeholders: Galp participated in the “Integrated Water Approach and Urban Reuse” project, developed by an IMPEL Working Group (European Union Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of the Environmental Law). The aim was to share refinery practices relating to water consumption, water reuse and wastewater treatment with the European regulatory entities, and to develop a best practice guide for water management which complies with the industrial emissions directive and the water framework directive.

Screening of risks associated with water use  

We periodically update the mapping of risks associated with the use of water in 100% of our operations. This mapping is performed using the Global Water Tool for Oil & Gas - developed by the Global Oil and Gas Industry Association for Environmental and Social Issues (IPIECA) in collaboration with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

In 2020, according to mapping using the WRF for Oil & Gas and WRI Aqueduct, only 3.5% of our operations are located in water resource-poor areas. These areas only represent 0.05% of Galp's total water consumption.

Find out more detailed information about our Analysis of Risks Associated with Water Use.


Soil protection

Recognising the importance that our operations have on soil conservation in the areas where we operate, we have developed action plans and we are proactive.

We have internal standards and procedures for the sustainable management of soil and water resources. We have established methodologies, and we have aligned our activities with internationally accepted good practices and the expectations of the competent authorities and other stakeholders. From an integrated perspective of the life-cycle of our facilities, the protection of soil and water resources is ensured through:

  • proper management of contaminants, waste and effluents;
  • incident prevention;
  • preparing responses to emergency and crisis situations.

In principle, we always have ready a responsible action in case of any threat of environmental damage.

We apply procedures to investigate and evaluate the contamination whenever loss of mechanical integrity and consequent loss of containment is suspected.

Methodology for assessing soil and/or groundwater quality and site management, applied after the occurrence of an event that could cause contamination.


In recent years, together with APETRO and other partners, we have taken steps to promote know-how about soil and groundwater protection in Portugal.

The first phase, completed in 2014, consisted of drafting and publishing a legal and methodological benchmarking report (Portuguese version) for the protection of soil and groundwater from contamination by petroleum products.

The second stage of the project was completed in 2016, with publication of the Sector Guide for the Protection of Soil (Portuguese version) and Groundwater in the Oil Sector. The Guide consisted of a reference document covering the techniques and methodologies to be applied in assessing the quality of potentially contaminated soil and groundwater.

Its purpose is to define guidelines on "what to do" and "how to do it" when faced with potential contamination of soil and/or groundwater by petroleum products.

Emergency prevention and response

We believe in sustained prevention by assessing risks and impacts throughout the life-cycle of projects. We strive to improve understanding of the environment in which our activities take place, at different levels:

  • ecological vulnerability;
  • local hydrogeology;
  • quality and characteristics of water resources;
  • type and characteristics of soils and bioclimatic conditions.

This knowledge is relevant for preventing and minimising the impacts of our activities, particularly at the planning and emergency response levels.

We prepare emergency response plans specific to our operations, which are periodically reviewed and tested.

Emergency plans cover all phases of emergency response, from emergency identification to closure. They include all scenarios that could result in a serious event, and they define the resources, roles, responsibilities, competencies and experiences required for each situation.

Communication channels with internal and external stakeholders are also identified, in order to minimise adverse effects on human life, the environment and assets.

Environmental Provisions for Remediation and Decommissioning

We establish provisions for environmental liabilities every year. These are generally established in order to provide resources for soil and groundwater decontamination processes, as well as for block abandonment projects arising from the E&P activity. 

Provisions (k€) 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Environment 3.4 18.0 33.0 43.0 145.0
Abandonment of E&P blocks 139 281 282 378 368