Ecological & Social Challenges along the Oil & Gas Value Chain

We are aware of the risks to our employees, the environment, and society that can be associated with activities along the oil and gas value chain. It is thus our goal to identify risks at an early stage and to minimize the negative impacts of our business activities in the areas we can influence.

In the following, we give an overview of the potential environmental and social challenges of the oil and gas value chain, and show the areas where we are involved through our subsidiaries.

Ecological & Social Challenge along the Oil & Gas Value Chain

Exploration, Production & Crude Oil Storage

Exploration & production includes the search for deposits, the development of oil and gas fields, and the extraction of crude oil and natural gas. Exploration and production activities generally impact nature and therefore represent a potential threat to ecosystems. In addition, technical defects, human error, and natural disasters can lead to serious accidents such as fires. Deepwater drilling represents a particular challenge, because it is associated with considerable technical effort and requires elaborate safety measures due to the serious environmental consequences of oil spills and difficult extraction conditions. Crude oil is mainly transported from the fields to the refineries by pipeline and seagoing vessels which may lead to oil spills. The greenhouse gases emitted during extraction and maritime transport also contribute to global warming.

Our site in Port Açu, Brazil, offers crude-oil handling facilities, and several tank storage sites in Germany, Argentina, Colombia and India offer crude-oil logistics.

Ecological & Social Challenge along the Oil & Gas Value Chain


In refinery plants, oil is distilled, purified and refined to produce fuels, lubricants, or chemical feedstocks for the plastics industry. Handling hazardous materials and work processes at high pressure and temperature ranges at refineries involves the risk of spills and fires, which can have negative effects on the environment, the health and safety of employees and the surrounding communities. In addition, the processes are very energy intensive, which contributes to global warming.

Marquard & Bahls does not own or operate any refineries or petrochemical plants. However, for example in Argentina, we store crude oil for directly supplying refineries. On our terminals in Texas City, Cartagena, Antwerp, and Singapore, we store products that are going to or coming from petrochemical complexes.

Ecological & Social Challenge along the Oil & Gas Value Chain


Trade in petroleum products involves the physical trading business as well as trading with foreign currency or securities on petroleum stock exchanges. The trading business is closely linked with the transport of goods and hence carries transport-related environmental risks.

Our subsidiaries under the Mabanaft umbrella are independent suppliers that concentrate on the physical trading of oil products such as heating oil, diesel, gasoline, jet fuel, marine fuels, and biofuels. One core activity is regional trading and wholesale in Singapore and Northwest Europe.

Ecological & Social Challenge along the Oil & Gas Value Chain

Product Storage

Storage plays an important role as petroleum products, gases and chemicals move from oilfields around the world to consumers. The main risk here arises from working with highly flammable substances, as well as environmentally hazardous, and sometimes toxic products. Preventing accidents, spills and fires is therefore a special focus in tank storage. Tank terminals receive the products to be stored from seagoing vessels, barges, pipelines, railcars and tank truck. The transport-related risks are the same as those already mentioned in the other areas. 

Our subsidiary Oiltanking is especially active in the area of storage. Skytanking also operates airport tank terminals for storing jet fuel. 

Ecological & Social Challenge along the Oil & Gas Value Chain

Distribution & End-Consumer Business

The distribution & end-consumer business involves supplying customers with fuels to produce heat and motion, as well as lubricants. The fuelling and consumer business that is part of this area is closely linked with the transport of the products, and therefore involves transportrelated risks. Moreover, the process of bunkering ships and fuelling road tankers and aircraft, for example, involves the risk of accidents and spills. 

Through the Mabanaft subsidiaries in particular, we are active in the bunkering, filling station and heating-oil end-consumer businesses. Skytanking also offers aviation fuelling services.

Ecological & Social Challenge along the Oil & Gas Value Chain

Subsequent Value Creation

At the various steps along the value chain, waste and wastewater are produced, which must be properly disposed of. And downstream of this, products are usually consumed or combusted, which contributes to global warming by releasing greenhouse gases.