State-owned Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (Orpic) had invested $50 million in the last couple of years for environment improvement programmes at Sohar refinery.
These investments were mainly for industrial waste management ($15.4 million), air emissions ($29.3 million), water treatment and odour control ($8.8 million).
Some of the major projects, including an odour mitigation, sour water stripper and facilities for disposing industrial waste were completed in the first half of this year.
The Sohar Refinery Improvement Project, which is in an advanced stage, is also aimed at reducing environmental impact in the area.
The company has also engaged local community through its transparent approach in mitigating environmental impact. As a result, complaints from local community came down substantially to 4 this year, from as high as 110 in 2012, said an official who visited the plant on Tuesday.
The company’s policy is to measure, manage and minimise environmental impact of the operation of refinery. A number of key projects were identified in 2011 to eliminate or reduce negative impacts on the environment.
In fact, an environmental improvement plan was developed in co-operation with the Sohar Environmental Unit (SEU) branch of the Ministry of Environmental and Climate Affairs (MECA).
The major completed projects include wastewater treatment and odour elimination units, flare emissions reduction and industrial waste management projects.
The company also measures the ambient air quality for various contaminants on a frequent basis. Its sour water stripping units ensure the removal of pollutants such as sulphur and ammonia, to make the water suitable for re-use in the refining process. Also, any liquid effluent is checked for compliance on pollution parameters as stipulated by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs before it is discharged.