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Protecting the environment

Environmental protection is one of our highest priorities. In order to ensure a systematic approach and continuous improvements, environmental protection is an integral part of our health, safety and environment (HSE) management system.

The related processes, roles and responsibilities are clearly defined – for example, through the appointment of hazardous substances and waste officers. External consultants are often involved, which ensures that we keep up with the latest technological developments.

To spot potential environmental hazards in good time, we carry out risk analyses when planning projects, and implement both technical and organisational countermeasures in the light of the results. Our facilities are monitored using intelligent systems that immediately identify deviations from the normal operational status. These trigger automated responses which are rapidly followed by action initiated by well trained staff. State-of-the-art maintenance management and fault detection systems play an important part in our preventive measures aimed at protecting the environment.

Reusing natural reservoirs and wells

RAG’s core areas of business are oil and gas exploration and production and gas storage. In order to ensure the company’s long-term survival, we are constantly enhancing our core operations through innovation, and research and development (R&D). 

Thanks to our use of depleted natural gas reservoirs as gas storage facilities, in the past few years we have made significant strides in enhancing Europe’s security of supply, as well as implementing a new form of sustainable production of natural resources. We have now converted about half of the gas reservoirs discovered in our 80-year history into storage facilities with long useful lives – a figure unmatched anywhere in the world.

RAG invests heavily in innovative projects designed to promote decentralised energy supply. This includes geothermal after-use of dry or depleted wells.

One such project – a deep borehole heat exchanger working in combination with a biomass plant – supplies more than 100 households in Neukirchen an der Vöckla in Upper Austria with environmentally-friendly heating sourced from 2,850 meters below ground. This pioneering scheme marks a major step towards integrating conventional and renewable energy production.

Research into groundbreaking technologies

RAG has initiated various research projects aimed at converting renewables such as wind and solar power into gas that can then be transported and stored using existing natural gas infrastructure. The Underground Sun Storage project is being financed by Austria’s Climate and Energy Fund. 

Efficient use of energy and resources

We aim to use and distribute the energy required for our operations as efficiently as possible. The commissioning of CHP plants in Strasswalchen and Kremsmünster has enabled us to make particularly efficient use of electricity and heat from our production and storage facilities, and to inject energy into the public grid.

A project to reduce vehicle emissions has been in place for several years – this involves upgrading the vehicle fleet so that it is predominantly made up of natural gas vehicles, and building the necessary filling stations. These measures will reduce CO2 emissions significantly compared to conventional fuel types, and in some cases eradicate pollution (especially fine particulate dust) altogether. Our goal is to make it simpler for RAG employees and customers, and the general public to switch to environmentally-friendly and affordable technology.

Environmental protection

When constructing production facilities, RAG takes preservation of the natural environment into account at the planning stage, as part of the environmental analysis. Locations are carefully selected, with the amount of land used as well as emissions and damage to the landscape kept to an absolute minimum. The land is restored to its previous state once the project has been completed. When it comes to constructing permanent facilities such as those for gas storage, RAG is committed to creating compensation areas.

We also aim to continually expand cooperation with public authorities, environmental protection experts, planners, local councils and landowners, and to take account of their requirements and interests from an early stage.