We are committed to preserving air quality everywhere we operate. To meet the challenge of maintaining balanced local ecosystems and protecting residents' health, we have set ambitious targets for reducing atmospheric emissions from both our installations and our products.
Why it matters
The combustion of hydrocarbons creates atmospheric emissions that have an impact on the environment, ecosystems and health. Growing public action against air pollution has helped strengthen air quality regulations. Total is responding not only within its own businesses, but also as part of global initiatives with the goal of helping to continuously improve the quality of the air we breathe.
Our action guidelines: prevent, reduce, and improve
Burning, processing and distributing oil and gas - an inherent part of our business - generates three types of emissions: sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOX) and volatile organic compounds.
To limit the negative impacts around our facilities, we emphasize information and prevention. Using dedicated tools, we are able to anticipate peaks in SO2 emissions depending on the weather and adjust refinery output accordingly. In addition, our production units are designed with a collection network to control VOC emissions at the source. We have also installed equipment that limits these emissions during routine operations.
Because it is impossible to completely eliminate these emissions at the source, we take curative measures as well. These measures are designed to extract and capture releases around our installations.
- SO2: Some of our refineries are equipped with strippers that separate SO2 from the gas stream.
- NOX: All of our refineries and petrochemical plants are fitted with low NOX burners.
- VOCs: This is particularly an issue in our Exploration & Production operations, primarily due to flaring. To resolve this issue effectively, we have made a commitment to reduce routine flaring by 80% between 2010 and 2020 and to phase the practice out completely by 2030.
At the same time, we are developing increasingly high-performance products to reduce energy consumption and polluting emissions. In Europe, transportation accounts for half of all NOX emissions. Our teams are taking action by developing new automotive products that are more effective and less polluting.
AdBlue®: leveraging our expertise to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions
Our teams have developed a solution known as AdBlue® made of urea (32.5%) and demineralized water (67.5%) that helps reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel-powered vehicles such as trucks, buses or garbage trucks by 85%. Used in vehicles equipped with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology, AdBlue® converts the NOX into nitrogen and steam.
As part of our continuous improvement approach, we ensure that our operators understand the importance of air quality issues and train them in best emissions-control practices. They apply enhanced procedures and are backed by sophisticated emissions-detection equipment that provides precise tracking indicators.
And because emissions can only be successfully reduced through collective action, we actively participate in international initiatives to preserve air quality.