According to a new study by GlobalData, Spain, Germany and Italy account for more than 35% of the active refineries across the continent.
Spain is the third highest user of such refineries, with a capacity of 1,542,000 bpd (barrels per day) from 10 refineries in 2017.
Gibraltar-San Roque, operated by Compania Espanola de Petroleos SAU, has the highest active capacity of 241,000 bpd. Cartagena and Bilbao refineries follow with 220,000 bpd each.
Years of research have linked living close to refineries with higher cancer rates.
It is believed toxic pollutants emitted in the refinery process – like benzene – contribute to various types of cancer.
In the Cadiz region, the prevalence of cancers and rate of mortality were recently revealed to be among the worst in Spain.
The allergic asthma rate amongst children is the highest in the country while the overall mortality rate is 20% above the national average.
According to a CEPSA report, a string of very heavy polluting incidences related to power shutdowns and subsequent start-ups, has produced voluminous clouds of particulate pollution covering the surrounding area.