The European Commission adopted an implementing decision on 9 October 2014 establishing best available techniques (BAT) conclusions for refining mineral oil and gas, under the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) – Directive 2010/75/EU.
The IED is the legislative framework for regulating emissions from industrial sites to the air, water and soil. The Directive regulates emissions of about 50,000 industrial installations across the EU through the establishment of sector-specific BREF (BAT REFerence document) containing information about the sector and the latest emission control techniques used. The key chapter of the BREF, the BAT Conclusions, are then passed as secondary legislation. BATs cover both the technology used and the way in which the installation is designed, built, maintained, operated and decommissioned. It aims to achieve a high level of environmental protection under economically and technically viable conditions.
The binding BAT Conclusions include BAT Associated Emission Levels (BAT-AELs) which shall be the reference for authorities in Member States to set permit conditions for operators through Emission Limit Values (ELVs).
The BAT conclusions for refineries include emission levels of various individual metal compounds or total suspended solids emissions to water; they set emissions levels of nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide to air, depending on the combustion mode of the fluid catalytic cracking process; and they set emission standards for non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) and benzene for storage and handling processes. The BAT conclusions also include the integrated emission management technique for NOX and SO2 from several process and combustion units within a site, as an alternative to the unit-by-unit BAT-AELs approach. This allows for refineries to achieve costeffective overall reductions, based on the specific characteristics of that site.
FuelsEurope supports the IED as a policy tool to deliver continuing improvements in environmental performance. However, the new standards set by the Refining BREF will be extremely challenging and costly for the sector. Therefore, implementation must be carried out in a manner that does not unnecessarily impair the competitiveness of the EU refining sector.
Following the publication of this decision on BAT conclusions, authorities will have to reconsider permit conditions to ensure that emissions do not exceed the emission levels associated with BATs. If necessary, they will have to update them. They must also ensure that installations comply with those revised permit conditions within the next 4 years starting from the date of publication in the Official Journal.
Position Paper - Industry proposals for improvement of BAT information exchange
Criteria for identifying key environmental issues for the review of BREFs - A joint contribution from IED regulated industrial sectors