Together with safety, environmental protection and responsible stewardship of Austria’s natural resources are paramount in everything we do – especially gas storage. In order to underpin a systematic approach and continuous improvement, these policy areas are built into our health, safety and environment (HSE) management system.
As a result, the related processes and tasks are unambiguously defined, and the responsibilities concerned clearly assigned. In addition, outside experts are involved in these areas of our activities, ensuring that we keep up with the latest technological developments.
All the processes at storage facilities operated by RAG are designed for maximum environmentally friendliness. Minimising energy use and emissions, utilising waste prevention technology, and employing new technology to monitor and test the plant and pipelines are particularly vital. This is where internal control and an energy management system certified according to the ÖNORM EN ISO 50001:2011 standard come in.
To spot potential environmental hazards in good time, we carry out risk analyses when planning plant construction projects, and employ combinations of technical and organisational countermeasures. Our facilities are monitored using intelligent systems that immediately spot deviations from the normal operational status and trigger automated responses followed up by action rapidly initiated by well trained staff. The preventive measures to protect the environment also include state-of-the-art maintenance management and fault detection systems.
During the risk analysis phase, nature conservation is addressed by performing an environmental analysis. Before a gas field development can go ahead, the site is carefully selected so as to minimise the amount of land used, as well as the emissions and the intrusion in the landscape. The „Green meadow to green meadow“ process, which tracks the history of a field development from the first intervention in the virgin site through to its restoration, follows the entire operational life of every single production system through to its abandonment as reflected in the administrative records and rights of way.
When a production system is no longer needed, official, and in particular mining law procedures, must be complied with to restore and abandon the site. After the dismantling of the technical installations and the removal of all foreign materials from the soil the land is completely recultivated and returned to its original, “greenfield” state.
When constructing permanent facilities such as those for gas storage, RAG is committed to creating environmental compensation areas. We also aim to steadily extend our cooperation with public authorities, environmental protection experts, planners, local authorities and landowners, and to take account of their varying requirements and interests from an early stage.
We strive to employ and distribute the energy required by our own installations as efficiently as possible. Bringing combined heat and power (CHP) plants onstream in Strasswalchen and Kremsmünster has enabled us to make exceptionally efficient use of power and heat from our production and storage facilities, and to inject this energy into public networks.
A vehicle emission reduction project, already under way for several years, involves changing over to a gas driven fleet, and rolling out the necessary refuelling infrastructure. This will slash carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions as compared to conventional fuels, and almost entirely eliminate emissions of fine particulates. The aim is to make it easier for RAG employees and customers, and the general public to switch to technology that is both affordable and more eco-friendly. For example, our workforce are being offered opportunities for internal purchases of CNG driven company cars which we subsidise with filling vouchers.
In addition, measures have been and are being taken in the area of processes and lighting to achieve savings of more than 3,500 MWh per year.