Press release: Gazprom Neft completes construction of new “Biosphere” water treatment facility at its Moscow Refinery

Gazprom Neft has begun start-up tests at its cutting-edge “Biosphere” biological water treatment complex, with Mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin and Gazprom Neft CEO Alexander Dyukov visiting the new facility at the company’s Moscow Refinery.

The construction of the Biosphere is an environmental initiative forming part of Gazprom Neft’s extensive modernisation of its oil refining assets, a key priority of which is the consistent reduction of environmental impacts in production. By the order of the Government of the Russian Federation, the construction of the Biosphere forms part of the Federal Plan for the Year of Ecology in Russia. Gazprom Neft’s investment in the project stands at more than RUB9 billion.

Completing construction of the Biosphere marks an important stage in the plant’s environmental modernisation programme, and the final stage in terms of minimising impacts on the aquatic environment. A unique technological system developed by Russian engineers completes the construction of the plant’s water treatment plant, and will raise the efficiency of wastewater treatment to 99.9 percent. As a result of using cutting-edge technologies, the Biosphere will operate under a “closed-loop” water-usage cycle, significantly reducing the burden on the city’s water-treatment infrastructure, with the Moscow Refinery reducing its intake of river water 2.5-fold, and with 75 percent of treated effluent returned to the production cycle.

Mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin commented: “The Gazprom Neft Moscow Refinery is implementing a large-scale environmental programme, as a result of which the company’s environmental impacts should be reduced approximately four-fold. Today sees the completion of the next stage in this modernisation, with the ‘Biosphere’ treatment facilities having now been constructed, ensuring the fullest possible purification of effluent. In addition to which, the plant will cut its water intake from the Moskva River 2.5-fold, as a result of reusing treated water within its closed-loop recycling system. This is good news for all residents of the capital and the suburbs, and particularly for anyone near the plant, who enjoys walking in the parks on the lower banks of the Moscow River.”

Gazprom Neft CEO Alexander Dyukov added: “The Moscow refinery is by no means the only petrochemical enterprise operating within Moscow, but it is, today, the undisputed leader in terms of the massive changes to and rapid modernisation of its production facilities. The projects Gazprom Neft is implementing at its Moscow Refinery address the company’s priority objectives in minimising the environmental impacts of production, and in improving the refinery’s technological and operational efficiency. By investing in innovative environmental solutions, and introducing modern digital production management technologies, we are setting new standards in industrial and environmental safety that will drive further developments throughout Russia’s entire oil refining industry.”


The “Biosphere” is a multi-stage wastewater treatment system into which industrial effluents flow following preliminary treatment at the Moscow Refinery’s existing mechanical treatment facilities. At the first stage, water penetrates a pressure flotation (induced-air flotation) block, where a concentrated blast of air dispels all remaining mechanical contaminants. After passing through the flotation unit, the water travels into the main part of the facility — the membrane bioreactor.

Here, the wastewater is mixed with silt containing microorganisms that can absorb and process oil residues. Adapted for this environment, these have been cultivated specifically for the Biosphere at the Lyuberetskiy Vodokanal sewage treatment plant. Once it has fulfilled that function, it is filtered through thousands of membranes with a pore-diameter less than that of a human hair. This is the most modern water treatment solution currently available. In addition to this, the reservoir is completely waterproofed, with all waste gases undergoing special purification at photoionization stations, guaranteeing the complete removal of odours and pollutants. All air is first cleaned through filters, before being disinfected with ultraviolet light.

The purified water is then, finally, forced through 200 tonnes of activated carbon, followed by 1,440 reverse osmosis membranes, in succession — the cells of the latter being no larger than a molecule of water. Only after this is the purified water returned to production, and the filtered oil products sent for processing (refining). Part of the purified water is piped directly to the municipal sewage treatment plant. No open sewage flows into the Moscow River: even rainwater is collected in a storm drainage system and subject to purification.

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