Facilities, that have a negative impact on the environment, depending on the level of such impact, are divided into 4 categories. Category I objects include objects that have a significant negative impact on the environment and they are included in the areas of application of the best available technologies (Art. 4.2).
Criteria for classifying objects that have a negative impact on the environment as objects of categories I, II, III and IV were approved by Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of December 31, 2020 N 2398. Criteria to determine the category of the enterprise include:
- the environmental impact;
- the level of toxicity of pollutants;
- classification of industrial facilities.
Extraction of crude oil and natural gas, processing of natural gas, production of petroleum products are classified as Category I. Pipeline transportation of gas, gas processing products, oil and oil products using main pipelines is classified as Category II.
The law requires payment for pollution, including emissions into the atmosphere. (Art. 16)
Permissible emission standards for a stationary source are determined by calculation on the basis of environmental quality standards and standards for maximum permissible concentrations. Permissible emission standards are not calculated for category IV facilities (Art. 22).
Technological standards are developed by organisations independently at facilities of category I and are established on the basis of indicators that do not exceed those of the best available technologies (Art. 23).
The standards for the permissible anthropogenic load on the environment are established for organisations in order to assess and regulate the impact on the environment located within specific territories and water areas. When establishing standards for the permissible anthropogenic load on the environment, natural features are taken into account (Art. 27).
Organisations operating at category I facilities are required to obtain a comprehensive environmental permit (Art. 31.1).
The Federal Law on Environmental Protection introduces the definition of Best Available Technologies (BAT) (Art. 28.1). Determination of technological processes, equipment, technical methods, methods as the best available technology for a specific field of application, approval of methodological recommendations for determining technology as the best available technology are carried out by the authorised body, which will develop information and technical reference books on BAT. Further, the law contains several norms to encourage large emitters (Category I) to employ BAT. Pollution fees for legal entities and individual entrepreneurs that have introduced BAT will be set at zero (Art. 16.3). Pollution fees for the exceeding volume of emissions, set in the permissible emissions standards for category I and II enterprises (set based on the size of the emitter) are multiplied by a factor of 100, while the fees for the enterprises of category III are multiplied by a factor of 25 (Art. 16.3).
Art 17.3 of the Federal Law on Environmental Protections further provides for state support for the implementation of the BAT and other measures to reduce the negative impact on the environmentis carried out through:
- providing tax benefits;
- providing benefits regarding the negative environmental impact fees in the manner established in Art. 16.3,
- allocating funds of the federal budget and budgets of the constituent entities.
Art. 17.4 establishes that state support in accordance Art 17.3 is carried out in the implementation (among others) of “4) ensuring the beneficial use of associated petroleum gas.”
According to the “list of areas of application of BAT” (Order of the Government of the Russian Federation 24.12.2014, №2674), oil and gas production, processing of oil, natural and associated petroleum gas, as well as mining and enrichment of coal and anthracite are BAT application areas, for which the corresponding BREFs have to be developed.
The construction and operation of oil and gas production, processing, transport, storage, and sales facilities shall comply with this law. During such operations, “measures are taken to collect petroleum associated gas” as stated in the Art. 46.1. These facilities shall plan measures to prevent and eliminate spills of oil and oil products and other negative impacts on the environment. (Art. 46).
Decree no. 1148 (8 Nov 2012), On the Features of Calculating the Payment for Emissions of Pollutants Generated During Flaring and (or) Dispersal of Associated Petroleum Gas - ties flaring and venting methane to the pollution fee (para 2), and sets the government target of not flaring or venting more than 5% of associated petroleum gas (APG) (para 3).
Decree no. 255 (25 March 2017), About Calculation and Collection for Negative Environmental Impact - references Decree no. 1148 (para 3): requires persons obliged to pay the fee to calculate it themselves, using the base fees (para 8) and the correct formula (if emissions are within permit limits, para 17; if the emissions are within temporarily agreed-upon limits, para 19; para 21 if the emissions exceed both); investments to reduce pollution (including to use or sell associated gas) can be deducted, (paras 25-29).