Operating eco-efficiency

Galp promotes efficiency in the use and management of resources, under the commitment of the preservation of our planet, being a concern present in all life cycle phases of the facilities, products and services, i.e. from the formulation, design, operation and lifespan, to the end of life and deactivation. We understand operational eco-efficiency as a strategic issue and we incorporate the risks and opportunities involved in its management. In all our operations we operate according to four key axes:
  • Preservation of natural capital: we recognize natural capital as a value-generating element, thus, the destruction of ecosystems has a negative economic impact. We must encourage their preservation by controlling the finite stock of resources (creating conditions for the resource regeneration) and balancing the associated renewable flows.
  • Optimization of resource yields: we seek to minimize consumption and maximize utility through reuse, namely of materials and energy, thus promoting increased efficiency in the use of resources.
  • Redesign of processes and models: we promote the reconsideration of processes and business models, taking technical and economic, social and institutional issues into account, and, ultimately, redesigning them.
  • Innovation and new technologies: we take the development of new strategies based on innovation and technology as a basis for effecting and leveraging the changes to current society dynamics, enabling the changes in the productive systems, but also in society’s habits and culture.

In addition, we assume our responsibility to future generations by promoting energy and energy efficiency education, and developing projects that promote responsible energy consumption among our customers, our partners and future consumers. 

Our goal: continue to be a reference in terms of the environment, increasing our ecoefficiency by 15%. 

Eco-efficiency in refining

At Galp, we continue to invest in the implementation of new energy efficiency measures in our refining equipment, even after the upgrade project for Matosinhos and Sines refineries, the most ambitious industrial project developed in Portugal.

See also our “Operational eco-efficiency - Refineries” case study.

Water and effluents

We have promoted the reduction of water consumption and the increase of reused water, through the adoption of water treatment, reuse and recirculation systems in our operations.

14% of water recovery in all the activities

15% of water recovery in refining

In 2020, we invested €581 k in new effluent treatment equipment in order to achieve greater efficiency and improving the quality of effluents, allowing an increase in the amount of water reused/recycled. The quality of effluents is monitored periodically, ensuring that they are below the defined emission limit values. Also, at a local level, Galp has implemented piezometer networks to monitor ground water quality and soil contamination.

Galp did not register in 2021, neither in past years, any water-related incidents. No operation interruption or plant closure was registered, nor physical interruption of water supply, neither any authorized body (e.g., governmental body, regulator) limited water withdrawal from a water source.

Our goals

We have set performance targets in line with the eco-efficiency goals established for our operations. By 2022, we have set the following targets for our refining system:

  Sines Refinery
Total water consumption standardized per treated or processed feedstock (m3/t) 0.58

Air quality and atmospheric emissions

Aware of the importance of air quality to public health and the environment, protecting it is already integrated in our operations management. We monitor our atmospheric emissions from both fixed and mobile sources and ensure that our performance is verified by an independent third-party.

To ensure our operations and our products are more sustainable, we have implemented the best available technologies (BAT) to reduce atmospheric emissions by:

  • Optimizing combustion systems
  • Adjusting the fuel portfolio
  • Introducing nitrogen oxide reducing additives to the Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) unit
  • Incorporating new fuel specifications to minimize the environmental impact caused by the use of marketed products
  • Establishing goals and targets based on performance KPIs

Emission reduction

In 2021, and compared to 2017, we have achieved significant reductions in the atmospheric emissions of our refining system:


              -17% -84% -19% -26%
NOx emissions SO2 emissions Particulate matter emissions CO2 emissions

Our goals

We have set performance targets in line with the eco-efficiency goals established for our operations. By 2022, we have set the following targets for our refining system:

  Sines Refinery
NOx emissions per treated feedstock (g/t) 130
SO2 emissions per treated feedstock (g/t) 100
Particulate matter emissions per treated feedstock (g/t) 11.9
CO2/CWT emissions 29

Production of waste and its recovery

Galp’s priority is to reduce the amount of waste and its harmfulness at the source of production, promoting the recoverable proportion increase.

We seek to maximize the reuse, and the recycling or recovery of materials. Disposal is always the last management option and when it happens it is first treated to ensure the waste is sent to the appropriate final destination. These concerns are carefully assessed in the various phases of the plant life cycle - design, operation and decommissioning.

In 2021, 60% of the waste was recovered.

Waste management in operations is supported by risk analysis and assessment, which takes into account not only the harmfulness of the products/waste from operations, but also the capability and suitability of infrastructures and equipment to process and store them. In this way, we minimize the risks to ecosystems and human health.

We establish operational priorities for waste management in accordance with the following hierarchical levels:

  1. Prevention and production reduction - In the design of facilities and improved operations management;
  2. Reuse - Of products, prolonging their useful life;
  3. Recycling - Recovering materials/components;
  4. Recovery - In energy terms;
  5. Treatment and disposal.

We believe in the transition to a more circular economy, where the value of products, materials and resources remains in the business cycle for as long as possible and waste production is reduced to a minimum.

Instances of containment losses

We act in several aspects to minimize the instances of containment losses. We promote the monitoring of all primary containment losses, regardless of the volume released or the affected environment. We seek to promote the dissemination of the lessons learned from the investigation of each event, of its causes and effects. In addition to its monitoring, this information is reported in the Scorecards of the business units, which are regularly monitored by the top management.

Containment losses 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Total volume (m3) 16 27 36 115 1,412 89
Total volume that reached the environment (m3) 5 5 14 61 302 44

We implement measures to prevent and mitigate spills, promoting the quality of the environment and the species and habitats that depend on it. We strive to improve the understanding of the environment in which our activities are developed, at the level of:

  • Local hydrogeology;
  • Surface and groundwater resources quality and characteristics;
  • Soil type and characteristics;
  • Bioclimatic conditions;
  • Ecological vulnerability.

Learn more about Galp’s operational eco-efficiency