Prevention of risks and environmental impacts

Prevention is best way to avoid an incident

We regularly review and update our operating procedures using both digital tools and the most innovative technologies to improve our surveillance and control systems. 

Nevertheless, if a spill occurs, we immediately activate emergency response mechanisms, analyze the causes, and establish new preventive actions to avoid it from recurring. These processes are essential to continue to minimize the impact on the environment and to equally ensure people's safety..

ARIEL Project, using drones at sea

The ARIEL Project (Autonomous Robot for the Identification of Emulsified Liquids) aims to detect hydrocarbons at sea using a multi-drone system with the use of special cameras. In this way, we obtain a detailed analysis which allows us to better target mitigation actions if necessary.

Researchers tested the prototype in a relevant environment with a fully autonomous drone landing on an autonomous vessel. ARIEL, developed by Repsol Sinopec Brazil, reached a milestone in December 2020, being the first physical prototype to successfully complete the first tests in Guanabara Bay (Brazil). This multi-drone system aims to detect marine spills and perform environmental monitoring activities, thereby reducing operator exposure. The project has already integrated on-board and aerial drones, and a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) is planned for the next phase.

Their use may also be directed in the future to other potential applications, such as extending the lifetime of fields and mapping wind potential in offshore areas.

Fuel tank in a Repsol service station

Spill prevention at service stations

Spill prevention measures are focused on two basic pillars:

  • Prevention of operational spills through monitoring of discharges, follow-up of high and very high level alarms, as well as training of employees, among other measures.
  • Asset integrity including traditional measures such as tank and pipeline leak testing, double wall tank linings, and equipment inspections, among others. 

In the event of failure of the measures to prevent leakage, additional protective actions are implemented to limit the possible consequences of spills. We have developed and incorporated advanced mathematical models such as the SIR System (Statistical Inventory Reconciliation) which, based on statistical algorithms, makes it possible to anticipate the detection of leaks before generating impacts, guaranteeing the control and accreditation of watertightness, based on three basic variables: stocks, discharges and sales.

By grouping the stations by distribution centre and taking into account the calibration data of the pumps, we obtain a result that allows early detection of leaks in the underground mechanical installation and avoids serious consequences for the subsoil.

HEADS, a pioneering technology

Through our Repsol Technology Lab and in collaboration with Indra, we have developed the HEADS system (Hydrocarbon Early Automatic Detection System), a pioneering technology capable of detecting hydrocarbons at sea automatically with a response time of less than two minutes.

Therefore, we have agreements with leading media and service providers such as Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL), Wild Well Control, Helix Well Containment Group (HWCG), and the Global Well Capping Consortium.

This agreements guarantee expert technical assistance in the event of a marine spill and access to the best resources and equipment in the shortest response time possible wherever we operate. We also stress the importance of training our employees in preventing, preparing, responding, and recovering from the impact of major accidents in offshore operations.