Oil & Gas – Refining & Marketing

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Current language: English
Oil & Gas - Refining & Marketing (R&M) entities refine petroleum products, market oil and gas products, or operate gas stations, all of which comprise the downstream operations of the oil and gas value chain. The types of refinery products and crude oil inputs influence the complexity of the refining process used, with varied expenditure needs and intensity of environmental and social impacts.

Relevant Issues (9 of 26)

Why are some issues greyed out? The SASB Standards vary by industry based on the different sustainability-related risks and opportunities within an industry. The issues in grey were not identified during the standard-setting process as the most likely to be useful to investors, so they are not included in the Standard. Over time, as the ISSB continues to receive market feedback, some issues may be added or removed from the Standard. Each company determines which sustainability-related risks and opportunities are relevant to its business. The Standard is designed for the typical company in an industry, but individual companies may choose to report on different sustainability-related risks and opportunities based on their unique business model.

Disclosure Topics

What is the relationship between General Issue Category and Disclosure Topics? The General Issue Category is an industry-agnostic version of the Disclosure Topics that appear in each SASB Standard. Disclosure topics represent the industry-specific impacts of General Issue Categories. The industry-specific Disclosure Topics ensure each SASB Standard is tailored to the industry, while the General Issue Categories enable comparability across industries. For example, Health & Nutrition is a disclosure topic in the Non-Alcoholic Beverages industry, representing an industry-specific measure of the general issue of Customer Welfare. The issue of Customer Welfare, however, manifests as the Counterfeit Drugs disclosure topic in the Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals industry.
General Issue Category
(Industry agnostic)

Disclosure Topics (Industry specific) for: Oil & Gas – Refining & Marketing

GHG Emissions
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    Refining & Marketing (R&M) operations generate significant direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from a variety of sources. Emissions primarily consist of carbon dioxide and methane from stationary fossil fuel combustion for energy supply. Energy costs are a significant share of refinery operating costs. GHGs also are released from process emissions, fugitive emissions resulting from leaks, emissions from venting and flaring, and from non-routine events such as equipment maintenance. The energy intensity of production, and therefore the GHG emissions intensity, can vary significantly depending on the type of crude oil feedstock used and refined product specifications. Entities that cost-effectively reduce GHG emissions from their operations may capture operational efficiencies. Such reductions also may mitigate the effects of increased fuel costs from regulations that limit—or put a price on—GHG emissions.
Air Quality
  • Air Quality

    Non-greenhouse gas (GHG) air emissions from Refining & Marketing (R&M) operations include air pollutants, which can create significant and localised environmental or health risks. Specific emissions of concern include sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrogen sulphide, particulate matter and VOCs. Releases occur from stationary combustion sources, storage vessels, flares and equipment leaks, and may also occur because of accidents. Human health impacts and financial consequences may be exacerbated the closer a facility is to population centres. Active management of the issue—through technological and process improvements—may allow entities to mitigate the effect of regulations and benefit from operational efficiencies that could result in reduced costs.
Water & Wastewater Management
  • Water Management

    Refineries can use large quantities of water depending on their size and refining process complexity. This water use exposes them to the risk of water scarcity, depending on their location, and related costs. Extraction of water from water-stressed regions or water contamination also may create tensions with local communities. Refinery operations require wastewater treatment and disposal, often via on-site wastewater treatment plants before discharge. Reducing water use and contamination through recycling and other water management strategies may permit entities to capture operational efficiencies and reduce operating costs. They also could minimise regulatory, water supply shortages and community-related disruptions on operations.
Waste & Hazardous Materials Management
  • Hazardous Materials Management

    As a by-product of their operations, Refining & Marketing (R&M) entities generate various forms of waste derived from the processing of petroleum products. Many of these substances are hazardous to human health and the environment and may be subject to regulation. Remediation of inactive or decommissioned sites may take many years to complete, and entities may accrue liabilities for past operations. Hazardous substance releases from underground storage tanks (USTs) used by refining facilities and gas stations can affect land redevelopment for abandoned or closed facilities. Spills and releases during operations can result in groundwater contamination and other negative impacts. R&M entities that reduce and recycle hazardous waste streams, as well as those that have effective and prompt clean-up and remediation measures in place for normal operations and decommissioned facilities, may reduce regulatory and litigation risks and associated costs.
Employee Health & Safety
  • Workforce Health & Safety

    Hazards associated with the operations of entities in the Refining & Marketing (R&M) industry may present risks to employee health and safety. Such hazards include the handling and processing of hydrocarbons, frequently at high temperatures and pressures during refining operations. Accidents or inadvertent exposures to chemicals and other hazards such as heat or noise may result in fatalities, severe injuries or illnesses. Releases of hydrocarbons or other hazardous substances resulting from accidents or leaks also can have negative consequences for neighbouring communities. An entity’s ability to protect employee health and safety, and to create a culture of safety and well-being among employees at all levels, can help prevent accidents, mitigate costs and operational downtime, and enhance workforce productivity.
Product Design & Lifecycle Management
  • Product Specifications & Clean Fuel Blends

    Some regulatory jurisdictions have implemented product specifications and renewable fuel blends, which pose significant compliance and operational risks for Refining & Marketing (R&M) entities. Entities may face long-term reductions in revenue from fossil fuel-based products and services because of GHG mitigation policies such as renewable fuel mandates or standards, as well as competition from non-fossil fuel products. To ensure regulatory compliance and position themselves for long-term competitiveness, some entities are investing in clean fuel production or purchasing ethanol and other renewable biofuels. Advanced biofuels and fuel technologies have lower lifecycle impacts than traditional biofuels, and they can be used to minimise future regulatory risks and public pressure. Although short-term costs to find commercially viable technologies can be significant, investments in R&D for such technologies could serve to support R&M entities’ long-term profitability.
Competitive Behaviour
  • Pricing Integrity & Transparency

    Regulators are responsible for overseeing issues related to pricing integrity and transparency, which includes the potential for market manipulation by oil and gas entities, including Refining & Marketing (R&M) entities. Regulatory agencies focusing on refineries may investigate various competitive factors, including capacity utilisation and refinery maintenance decisions, product supply decisions, product margins, and capital planning, creating uncertainty regarding future enforcement. The focus of enforcement actions also may include prices reported to price index publishers, as well as potential price distortions through trading positions in physical transactions, and through swaps, futures and derivatives. Maintaining market integrity and ensuring transparency in product pricing can therefore reduce regulatory risks and liabilities for R&M entities and protect consumers from unfair pricing.
Management of the Legal & Regulatory Environment
  • Management of the Legal & Regulatory Environment

    The Refining & Marketing (R&M) industry is subject to numerous sustainability-related regulations and an often rapidly changing regulatory environment. Changes to the legal and regulatory environment may result in material effects on shareholder value. Entities in the industry regularly participate in the regulatory and legislative process on a wide variety of environmental and societal issues. Such engagement can result from entities seeking to ensure industry views are represented in the development of regulations affecting the industry as well as to represent shareholder interests. At the same time, such engagement to influence environmental laws and regulations may adversely affect entities’ reputations and ultimately affect an entity’s social licence to operate.
Critical Incident Risk Management
  • Critical Incident Risk Management

    The operations of Refining & Marketing (R&M) entities are often characterised by a high number of hazards, including the handling of flammable, volatile substances, the use of highly reactive chemicals, and the processing of fluids at high temperature and pressure. Accidental releases of hydrocarbons or other hazardous substances can have significant consequences for an entity’s workforce, as well as external social and environmental consequences. In addition to effective process safety management practices, entities frequently prioritise developing a culture of safety to reduce the probability that accidents and other health and safety incidents will occur. If accidents and other emergencies do occur, entities with a strong safety culture often can detect and respond effectively to such incidents. A culture that engages and empowers employees and contractors to work with management to safeguard their own health, safety and well-being and prevent accidents may help entities reduce production downtime, mitigate costs, ensure workforce productivity and maintain their licence to operate.

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