OMV Upstream and Downstream operations both affect water resources. OMV uses significant amounts of water for its operations in Upstream as well as in Downstream activities. Freshwater is used, for example, for drilling, steam generation, and cooling, among other processes. Smaller amounts of water are also used for non-industrial purposes. Produced water is treated for reinjection to pressurize hydrocarbon reservoirs in order to optimize the extraction rate.

Desalinated water is used in some offshore operations. Refineries and various other operating facilities also use brackish and/or recycled water for various operational purposes. Some of OMV’s operating facilities are located in water-stressed areas. 1 Water-stressed areas are areas where the demand for water exceeds the available amount during a certain period or when poor quality restricts its use. In such areas, water stress causes deterioration of freshwater resources in terms of quantity (aquifer overexploitation, dry rivers, etc.) and quality (eutrophication, organic matter pollution, saline intrusion, etc.). Source: European Environmental Agency, www.eea.europa.eu/themes/water/glossary

The key goals of our water management activities are to reduce water consumption, to utilize water resources efficiently, and to treat wastewater appropriately.

Water Ambition Statement

The Company’s commitment to water management is based on OMV’s Water Ambition Statement.

  • We respect water as a precious limited resource and focus on its sustainable use.
  • We are committed to meeting all applicable legislative requirements or our OMV regulations – whichever is more stringent.
  • Water management is a key component of our social license to operate. We cooperate with local communities and prove to be responsible partners.
  • We are committed to transparency when it comes to our impact on water resources.
  • Every OMV employee is responsible for minimizing the impact of our activities on water resources.

SDG targets: 6.1 By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all; 6.3 By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally; 6.4 By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity

OMV’s Group-wide Water Strategy was developed in 2014 and is based on five strategic pillars: Transparency; Risks and Opportunities; Water Efficiency and Treatment; Training and Awareness; Stakeholder Engagement.

In line with the great importance of the material topic Environment, we will continue to plan to establish targets to improve water management. For the Sustainability Strategy 2025, however, we have prioritized safety and carbon-related targets. OMV’s Water Strategy is currently under review.

Water-management-related risks are closely linked with the topic of spill prevention. Offshore operations may lead to oil spills with significant impact on marine water resources and ecosystems. The response strategy aims to minimize the probability of such risks and maximize readiness so that we can provide timely remediation measures in the unlikely event of an oil spill. OMV allocates significant resources to prevention and mitigation measures. Any new or existing offshore drilling activity is accompanied by a third-party analysis evaluating the magnitude of a major event and its possible consequences. As part of the biannual Group-wide process, water-related risks and mitigation measures are assessed in a larger strategic context, while a systematic approach is taken in day-to-day operations to monitor and to manage high-impact/low-probability risks, such as blowouts during offshore drilling.

Activities in Areas With Water Stress

High-level water stress assessments are conducted on an annual basis. OMV uses international tools and indexes, such as Verisk Maplecroft’s Water Stress Index complemented by the World Resources Institute’s () Aqueduct Baseline Water Stress Index, as well as own assessments as required, to identify operations in areas affected by water scarcity and water stress. Operating facilities located in places that are affected or are likely to be affected by water scarcity issues and operations utilizing significant water resources (e.g., Tunisia) are prioritized when developing and implementing water management plans. These plans aim to allow sustainable long-term production with minimal effects on the environment. Water management plans have been completed for 29% of priority sites, with the development of plans in progress at the remaining sites.

Water Withdrawn

In megaliters

Water withdrawn (bar chart)

A bottom-up approach in the assessment of water-related risks is taken in accordance with OMV’s Group-wide Environmental Risk Assessment () guideline to ensure consistent qualitative assessments of operational risks and impacts related to the environment, including water. Significant risks are integrated into OMV’s Enterprise-Wide Risk Management (EWRM) system.

When entering a new country or considering new operational activities, OMV primarily uses the World Resources Institute’s (WRI) Aqueduct and Verisk Maplecroft indexes to identify future potential water-related constraints, such as baseline water stress, groundwater stress, and seasonal variability. In 2020, we evaluated the water risk for the Arpechim Terminal at OMV Petrom Downstream and for the Muntenia asset at OMV Petrom Upstream. The water risk assessment was performed by using an international methodology developed by WWF. Both river basin data and industrial activity data were analyzed. The evaluation takes into account physical criteria including water scarcity as well as compliance and reputational aspects. Given that some regions where OMV Petrom operates have already experienced water stress in dry years and that a further decline in water availability is expected, mainly due to climate change, we determined the need to continue implementing measures for efficient water use.

Results from these water risk assessments are used as input for assessing climate change-related water stress risk. In 2019, we evaluated the water risk at Petrobrazi, Brazi power plant, and the Crișana asset. In 2020, the results from these water risk assessments were used as input for the climate-change-related water stress under EWRM.

Interaction With Stakeholders

Our impact on water resources is material to stakeholders as follows:

  • Government authorities (regulatory and river basin management authorities): compliance with water use rules and environmental parameters relating to wastewater generated
  • Local communities: sharing of local water resources and the quality of discharged wastewater
  • /: environmental preservation and water resource conservation
  • Local water utilities: supply of freshwater (for OMV operations) and treatment of wastewater

OMV pays particular attention to interaction with stakeholders in water-stressed areas.

OMV adheres to the requirements laid down in local legislation when setting standards for effluent discharge quality. The OMV Group Environmental Management Standard requires all OMV businesses and activities to minimize the impact of effluents on the environment and on local communities, and outlines specific requirements for wastewater discharge onshore and offshore. The direct discharge of wastewater on land, in wetlands, or in other water bodies without prior treatment is not permitted. The standard furthermore stipulates that no discharge may alter or diminish the value of the receiving environment. All discharge must be systematically monitored, and any environmental impact must be managed appropriately.

Local regulatory and river basin authorities are involved to ensure that OMV is in compliance with local environmental regulations and has obtained all of the required permits.

In areas where OMV operations require large amounts of water, or areas that suffer from water stress, it is particularly important to include local stakeholders in water management activities in order to secure a “social license to operate.” Among the most important stakeholders OMV includes in defining socially equitable, environmentally sustainable, and economically beneficial water management practices are local communities, neighboring industrial facilities, NGOs, regulators, and river basin management authorities.

OMV water management activities pursue socially equitable water use. In our Human Rights Matrix, we commit to ensuring an adequate standard of living, including access to water and food, for our employees and contractors working for OMV. This applies not only to our own operations but also to those of our suppliers, who sign and commit to following the OMV Code of Conduct. OMV regularly carries out supplier audits to ensure compliance with our human rights requirements.

To ensure that the interests of local communities are known and taken into account during the project life cycle, OMV conducts social baseline studies and community needs assessments as part of Social Impact Assessments (SIAs). If these assessments identify the need, OMV launches community projects aimed at increasing access to clean water for local communities. This partnership with local communities allows them to benefit from OMV’s presence in the region and provides consent for the use of natural water resources in their area. Our Community Grievance Mechanisms also enable communities to raise concerns about water-related issues such as contamination. (For more information, see Community Relations and Development.)

1 Water-stressed areas are areas where the demand for water exceeds the available amount during a certain period or when poor quality restricts its use. In such areas, water stress causes deterioration of freshwater resources in terms of quantity (aquifer overexploitation, dry rivers, etc.) and quality (eutrophication, organic matter pollution, saline intrusion, etc.). Source: European Environmental Agency.

Enterprise-Wide Risk Management
World Resources Institute
Environmental Risk Assessment
non-governmental organization
non-profit organization