Neste Oil continuously monitors the groundwater and soil at its refineries in Finland, and strives to prevent contamination as a result of its operations. Immediate action is taken in cases of spills or releases.
Groundwater monitoring and reporting of any cases where soil becomes contaminated are required under the environmental permits covering Neste Oil's refineries and most retail stations in Finland. Our other refineries are also able to prepare soil reports. The renewable refinery sites in Rotterdam and Singapore were thoroughly surveyed prior to their construction, and there was not nor have there been any significant indications of contamination.
A soil investigation is always carried out at the Porvoo and Naantali refineries whenever construction work is undertaken, and any contaminated soil is removed for treatment. Our refineries also have long-term soil response programs in place to remove contaminants from the soil in storage tank areas during maintenance work on containment dikes. A containment dike is a secondary reservoir surrounding a tank with the aim of protecting the surroundings in case of an incident. The containment dike response program at the Porvoo refinery will continue until 2019. In Naantali, a corresponding program is due to run until 2028. With such response programs, we improve our environmental and people safety.
Our objective is that no contaminants migrate out of our sites via groundwater. Groundwater monitoring has taken place at the Porvoo and Naantali refineries and the Hamina terminal since the 1990s, and a groundwater monitoring program is in place at the base oil plant in Bahrain, in which Neste Oil owns a minority.
The City of Helsinki made a claim for Neste Oil to pay for cleaning up marine sediments adjacent to the old oil harbor at Laajasalo in 2013. We have responded negatively to the claim, as the soil on land was cleaned up in 2004 and 2010 to the satisfaction of the City. Neste Oil used to have a fuel storage facility and lubricant plant in the area. Investigation of the matter will continue in cooperation with the authorities.
We also monitor the condition and quality of the soil in and around Neste Oil's retail stations. Soil studies are carried out when stations are closed or major modification work is carried out.
Our stations automatically send an alarm in the event of an incident to an external service provider, who is responsible for immediately responding and investigating the situation. In 2014, the remote monitoring system covered 75% of the company's stations. We continuously aim to increase remote monitoring.
A new multi-layer technical structure for secondary containment was introduced at several Neste Oil stations in 2014 located in groundwater protection areas to even better protect the groundwater and soil at these sites.
An oil leak took place in spring 2012 at the National Emergency Supply Agency’s oil storage facility in Kajaani that is operated by Neste Oil. The experts consulted estimated that the size of the contaminated area had decreased to approximately 5% of the original area in 2014. Most of the oil has evaporated or naturally biodegrated, and a risk assessment of the area came to the conclusion that rapid clean-up is not called for. Instead of remediation by excavation, the Kainuu Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre) approved Neste Oil's proposal for Monitored Natural Attenuation (MNA) of the soil in spring 2014. The MNA, started in June 2014, is to be monitored until 2017. In 2014, the Finnish Environmental Institute carried out the analyses and monitoring in the MNA project.
Nature conservation areas or protected sites are located close to the Porvoo and Naantali refineries, such as the Stormossen bog (75 hectares), which is part of the European Natura 2000 network of nature conservation sites, and the Vanto rare oak tree area in Naantali. We always take areas such as these into account in our operations and strive to protect them alongside the rest of the environment around refineries.
There are no areas of protected forestland in the vicinity of Neste Oil's refineries in Rotterdam or Singapore.
Uninterrupted, incident-free refinery operations are the best way of reducing the impact of Neste Oil's activities on the environment, as emissions into the water, the air and the soil from our refineries stay minimal during normal operations.