RAG - Home
Sustainability report 21|22

Safe and resilient facilities

Safety and security are our number one priority, and we are committed to maintaining them whatever the circumstances. RAG Austria AG meets the highest safety standards in order to ensure a safe working and living environment for all of our staff as well as local residents and municipalities. Safe facilities and work processes are paramount, and fundamental to our success as a business.

What we need to protect our facilities against

We secure our facilities by means of early warning systems and by avoiding breakdowns before damage occurs, as well as by reducing identified risks. These include technical breakdowns due to human error, threats to facilities due to climate change (e.g. flood, storm and lightning damage), fire, and sabotage due to criminal actions of third parties. Emergency plans ensure that RAG personnel and the emergency services are able to respond quickly and appropriately in case of a critical incident; by doing so they minimise potential damage and negative impacts on the environment. 

Injury to personnel and damage to local communities in relation to critical incidents are addressed in detail in the chapters ‘Occupational health and safety’ and ‘Climate and environmental protection’.

What we do to make our facilities secure

We have implemented various management systems designed to ensure safe operations and secure energy supplies. These interlocking systems cover the following areas:

  • Health, safety and the environment (HSE)
  • Integrity of facilities, pipelines and wells
  • Information security and physical security
  • Critical incidents
  • Purchasing equipment, carrying out training and emergency drills with local fire services  

HSE management system

The HSE management system covers all areas of responsibility relating to health, safety and environmental protection, and forms a binding basis for work in every area of activity. You can find more information about this management system here.

Integrity management

Our integrity management system covers three focus areas: above-ground facilities (facility integrity); gas, oil and storage pipelines (pipeline integrity); and casings and well fittings (well integrity).

We use established risk assessment systems to evaluate facilities’ resilience in the face of disturbing influences and exceptional operating states. For example, steps can be taken to minimise the risk of an outage and to enhance system-recovery capability. These factors are highly significant for RAG in its role as part of Austria and Central Europe’s critical infrastructure, which is also assessed using blackout scenarios.

A high-level integrity manager, who is a member of the Internal Audit & Strategic Security Management (IRS) Department, prepares a central report containing full information from the three focus areas in the integrity management system, and implements corresponding technical projects.

 Our storage facilities have to keep functioning, come what may, and be ready to spring into action at any time. This is our day-to-day business, supported by a lot of high tech behind the scenes.

Management of critical incidents

Fast, coordinated action is decisive in emergency and crisis situations. Within its HSE management system, RAG has developed emergency management procedures that are triggered in the event of operational incidents or emergencies.

These comprise emergency plans for our facilities to ensure an effective response to incidents, as well as the related documentation (gas alarm plan, fire protection plans, escalation chains, emergency contacts, pocket manual). Emergency management coordination by RAG Dispatching, and on-call facility managers guarantee a rapid response to any incident around the clock. We work closely with local emergency services such as the fire service and ambulance service when drawing up emergency procedures, and carry out regular drills and training. RAG has implemented a crisis management procedure to tackle company-wide crisis and beyond, in which the Executive Board works with an internal task force to coordinate measures across the company as well as crisis communications.

Information security management system (ISMS)

This system provides for structural risk analyses for IT risks, and includes structures designed to maintain information security in IT systems and raise awareness of security issues within the company. Measures derived from the ISMS reduce the risk of unauthorised manipulation of facility controls, failure of IT systems and successful cyberattacks. As an operator of critical infrastructure, we have a clear responsibility to safeguard our IT systems. The audit required in accordance with the Austrian Network and Information Systems Security Act was carried out at the end of 2022. Deficiencies identified in the audit report and any recommendations made by the administrative authority will be prioritised in our ISMS and solutions implemented within the required time frame. 

Physical security of facilities

Structured, comprehensive planning and monitoring of the physical security of our facilities helps to prevent unauthorised entry, protecting against theft, unauthorised manipulation and sabotage. Based on RAG’s corporate policy for physical security, security measures are determined in consultation with the facility manager according to relevance and the risks facing each facility, and implemented. These include technical installations such as fence systems, entry controls and surveillance systems, as well as organisational measures including security personnel and training. 

Continuous improvement processes are embedded in each of the management systems listed above. Incident reporting and incident analysis giving rise to measures for improvements are defined in the HSE management system. Technical incidents are recorded in a damage catalogue as part of the integrity management system, so that improvements can be introduced. 

The following departments and functions are responsible for the security of our facilities:

  • HSE Department: HSE management
  • Integrity Manager: well, facility and pipeline integrity
  • Chief Information Security Officer (CISO): information security management and IT security
  • Facility managers at each facility: emergency management, implementing physical security measures and cooperation with the fire service
  • Strategic Security Management Department: crisis management 

With supply chains that stretch across the globe, the Purchasing Department also plays an important role. This department must source the equipment and materials required for maintenance and servicing of our facilities, and maintain cost-efficient stocks so that we are able to fulfil our contracts with customers and ensure security of supply.

Clear responsibilities and communication channels, e.g. committee meetings and management reviews, are defined in the management systems. The Executive Board reports to the Supervisory Board on HSE activities and integrity matters, on a quarterly basis. Depending on the significance of an incident, public authorities, project partners and owners are informed in accordance with the HSE management system.

In 2021 there were three incidents in which harmful substances were released. In October a plastic pipe ruptured during decommissioning of a pipeline, and a mixture of crude oil and water, estimated at less than five cubic metres in volume, contaminated the surrounding soil. 32 tonnes of contaminated soil was properly disposed of, so that living organisms would not be harmed and the surrounding environment would not be affected (water, soil). In December 2021, a leaking well at a storage facility released approximately 500 cubic metres of methane, and the same quantity of greenhouse gas emissions was released at the surface production facility of a natural gas production site, due to a leaking column. There were no incidents resulting in significant leaks in 2022.