Air emissions

Air emissions are monitored through periodic or continuous measurements.


  • Goal 12
  • Goal 13


Air emissions

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Substances accounting for the largest percentage of total air emissions from the ORLEN Group’s installations include: sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and dioxide, as well as particulate matter. They are generated mainly from the combustion of fuels to produce electricity and heat, as well as in the refining and chemical processes. There are also volatile organic compound emissions and other process-specific emissions.

In 2021, total ORLEN Group’s air emissions, including of carbon dioxide, were in excess of 17.7 million Mg.

SO2, NOx, CO and particulate matter emissions amounted to 36,600 Mg, i.e. 10.35% less than in 2020. The Group emitted over 17.6 million Mg of CO2, up by 3.77% year on year. The vast majority of CO2 emissions are covered by the EU ETS.

Air emissions of ORLEN Group companies, by type of substance

Substance Emissions [Mg]
2021 2020 Change [%]
Sulfur dioxide 17,615 20,013 -11.98
NOx 11,096 12,609 -12.00
Carbon monoxide 6,880 8,310 -17.21
Particulate matter 1,017 1,019 -0.23
Carbon dioxide 17,652,018 17,010,022 3.77
Other substances 15,578 21,457 -27.40
Total emissions 17,704,204 17,073,430 3.69


2021 saw a significant decrease in sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from PKN ORLEN’s and Unipetrol’s installations and a reduction in carbon monoxide emissions from the ammonia plant at ANWIL S.A.

Hydrocarbons and methane account for the largest percentage of emissions of other substances. The decline in their volumes is due to the number of plant shutdowns during the year: in 2021, there were fewer shutdowns of ammonia production facilities at ANWIL S.A.

Other substance emissions from ORLEN Group companies’ installations include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – their volume was 9,765 Mg. Emissions of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) amounted to 0.04 Mg and 824 Mg, respectively.

ORLEN Group companies’ EU ETS and non-EU ETS CO2 emissions by source – Scope 1 emissions

Emission source CO2 emissions
2021 2020
Technological processes 10,221,116 7,816,510
Power generation 7,406,753 9,175,872
Other processes 24,149 17,640
ORLEN Group companies – total 17,652,018 17,010,022
including: EU ETS 17,609,161 16,863,936
Non EU ETS 4,257 146,086
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Management of greenhouse gas emissions

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Direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at the ORLEN Group include CO2 emissions reported under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) and non-EU ETS emissions.

Total CO2 emissions from EU ETS installations were 17,609,161 Mg in 2021, while non-EU ETS CO2 emissions from small-scale local heat sources and waste incineration plants totalled 42,857 Mg.

Greenhouse gas emissions were balanced monthly for the ORLEN Group companies’ units which participate in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The utilisation of the CO2 emission allowance allocations was monitored on an ongoing basis for each unit. The total pool of free allowances granted to ORLEN Group installations for 2021 was 7,606,860 Mg.

Verified CO2 emissions [Mg] from ORLEN Group’s EU ETS installations in 2020–2021

Company Emissions [Mg]
2021 2020
ANWIL 996,759 1,013,303
Basell Orlen Polyolefins 42,163 40,873
ORLEN Lietuva 1,501,524 1,478,463
ORLEN Południe 128,825 113,347
PKN ORLEN 8,007,450 8,712,407
PARAMO 40,241 40,087
ORLEN Unipetrol 4,243,526 3,638,933
SPOLANA 82,110 78,700
ENERGA 2,566,563 1,747,822
ORLEN Group companies – total 17,609,161 16,863,935


The Group monitors actual CO2 emissions against its allowances on an ongoing basis, seeking to ensure that it has the required allowance amounts.

Emissions of all greenhouse gases totalled 17,654,205 Mg, or 17,777,829 Mg of eCO2 equivalent.

Greenhouse gas emissions at the ORLEN Group

Substance Emissions [Mg] Emissions [Mg eCO2]*
2021 2020 2021 2020
Carbon dioxide (CO2) 17,652,018 17,010,022 17,652,018 17,010,022
Methane (CH4) 1,958 8,418 54,827 235,698
Nitrous oxide (N2O) 227 222 60,107 58,806
Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) 0.33 0 7,837 1,528
HFCs 1.61 1 3,041 1,835
Total 17,654,205 17,018,663 17,777,829 17,307,889
* Calculations based on 100-year Global Warming Potential (GPW) values from the IPPC Fifth Assessment Report.

Emissions of ozone-depleting substances

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In 2021, ORLEN Group companies emitted 39.72 Mg of the substances referred to in Regulation No. 1005/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of September 16th 2009 on substances that deplete the ozone layer.

Types and quantities of ozone-depleting substances and F-gases at ORLEN Group companies

Substance Emissions
2021 2020
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) 3.80 1.12
Tetrachloromethane (carbon tetrachloride) 0.04 0.07
1,1,1-trichloroethane 32.01 32.02
Bromomethane (methyl bromide) 3.87 3.37
TOATL 39.72 36.58


The substances are used in laboratory and analytical testing, in refrigerating and air conditioning equipment, and as process reagents in the production of chlorine and caustic soda. Trichlorofluoromethane equivalent (CFC-11) for the emitted substances was calculated in accordance with Regulation No. 1005/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of September 16th 2009, and amounted to 5.95 Mg.

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Carbon footprint

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We are pursuing a decarbonisation strategy, which is one of the commitments under the ORLEN Group’s new business strategy until 2030. PKN ORLEN has declared its intention to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. In furtherance of this goal, the Group aims to reduce carbon emissions from its existing refinery and petrochemical assets by 20% and cut down carbon emissions per megawatt-hour of electricity by 33% by 2030. The net zero emissions strategy is based on four pillars: energy efficiency in production, zero-carbon power generation, fuels of the future, and green finance.

We have taken steps to develop a methodology for calculating our carbon footprint. The methodology is compliant with the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard for Scope 1 and Scope 2 (market-based approach) emissions. Work on Scope 3 is currently underway.

The sources of direct (Scope 1) emissions are electricity and steam generation, heating and cooling processes. These emissions are produced as a result of the combustion of fuels in boilers, furnaces, engines and turbines, and in technological processes.

The methodology used to calculate direct emissions takes into account continuous and periodic measurements of GHG emissions as well as monitoring of the type and amount of fuels used, and converts them to GHG CO2e.

Indirect (Scope 2) GHG emissions are calculated using the market-based method. They include emissions from the generation of purchased or externally sourced electricity, heating, cooling, and steam consumed.

CO2 emission volumes at PKN ORLEN S.A. [Mg of CO2e]

2019 emissions
(tonnes of Co2e)
2020 emissions
(tonnes of Co2e)
2021 emissions
(tonnes of Co2e)
Scope 1* 8,931,220 8,854,752 8,148,456
Scope 2* 21,181 17,096 28,123
* Unverified emission estimates.

Biogenic emissions

Biogenic carbon emissions (i.e. emissions of carbon that is already part of the natural carbon cycle) at the ORLEN Group are emissions produced in the combustion of bioenergy-based fuels. Based on IPCC reports, CO2 emissions from burning biodiesel and biomass as alternative fuels are consistently offset by the amounts of carbon dioxide absorbed by plants.

In accordance with the GHG Protocol, biogenic emissions are reported separately from Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions.

In the case of PKN ORLEN S.A., biogenic emissions have been calculated based on the biodiesel combustion values from the DEFRA database and amounted to 7 Mg of CO2e.

See also

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