At Marathon Oil, we also have an obligation to evaluate our impact on the people living in the communities where we operate, and on the welfare and conservation of all living things in those areas – from plants to animals. As a publicly traded company, we recognize that our reputation affects our enterprise value and that we must maintain the trust of our stakeholders. We’re proud of our long-standing commitment to environmental progress and to harnessing innovation to lessen our impact on the environment.
Our goal of full compliance is embedded in our corporate values and communicated from the highest levels, and we continue to invest in compliance. We offer training to our highly skilled regulatory professionals, who work hand-in-hand with our operations to drive not just performance, but also excellence as a responsible and ethical operator. However, our desire isn't just to comply with regulations, but to excel in all that we do and evaluate opportunities to go above and beyond regulatory requirements.
Providing Additional Disclosure
Our Environmental Management Standard guides our business units in the identification and mitigation of the risks our operations pose to the natural environment. To eliminate or reduce environmental impacts from our operations, we’ve developed sound practices for local and regional management of emissions, water, waste and sensitivie habitats. Through environmental management strategies and processes, we do the following:
- Promote compliance with all applicable regulations and go beyond them as needed; for example, in Equatorial Guinea we follow World Bank Guidelines in effect at the time of facility design and project execution;
- Identify, evaluate and implement potential solutions to reduce air emissions, waste and freshwater use and to prevent spills;
- Track and report environmental performance data and management practices to internal and external stakeholders to identify and implement best practices; and
- Conduct due diligence as appropriate prior to making major acquisitions to determine any potential environmental issues or liabilities.
We’re committed to providing our stakeholders with additional information about our practices in these areas. In response to stakeholder interest in global climate change and air quality, in this 2018 Sustainability Report we’ve expanded disclosures related to our methane and other air emissions. In addition, by year-end 2019 we’re issuing a climate risk report to describe in more detail our governance, strategy, risk management and metrics consistent with the format advocated by TCFD (Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures).
Innovating To Minimize Environmental Impact
At Marathon Oil, we acknowledge the role we play in our industry’s “dual challenge” – meeting energy demands while also minimizing the environmental impacts of exploration, production and energy use. This complex challenge requires us to look for affordable and practical solutions.
For example, we seek to minimize air emissions from equipment, and we have an excellent fugitive emissions rate of less than 0.1% of leaking components. Over the last five years, our methane emissions intensity has declined by 31%, largely due to our internal goal of eliminating the routine use of high-bleed pneumatic controllers, which we met ahead of schedule.
Although we believe that oil and gas development will remain crucial to the world economy for the foreseeable future, we recognize the increasing interest of our stakeholders in carbon-related policy initiatives and alternative energy sources. We’ve put capital investment toward implementing new technologies to ensure we can sustainably deliver our part of the energy the world needs – all in a cost-effective manner that promotes long-term value creation.
A Priority from the Top Down
Our corporate sustainability efforts inform our risk management process and our business strategy. The executive vice president of operations has overall leadership accountability for our environmental performance, with oversight from the Health, Environmental, Safety and Corporate Responsibility (HES&CR) Committee of the board of directors. In addition, eight of our nine directors bring experience in, or a strong understanding of, industry regulatory issues to their board oversight role.
We use the Responsible Operations Management System (ROMS) to create procedures designed to minimize health, environmental and safety risks. In addition, we have a particular focus on lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and established the cross-functional Sustainability Forum to evaluate GHG emissions reduction projects proposed by operations and HES staff. The forum makes recommendations to Marathon Oil’s senior leadership team on projects with the potential to reduce emissions and climate-related risk. As a result of this process, Marathon Oil recently sanctioned a proof of concept to evaluate use of an instrument that identifies and measures methane leaks more efficiently.
We recognize that our business impacts the environment and we continue to improve our operations to minimize our environmental footprint.
We’re committed to reducing spills and releases to the water and air, minimizing wastes, and promoting responsible water management and land stewardship. By doing so, not only do we help preserve the environment, we also protect our reputation, increase efficiency and allow employees to focus on producing oil and gas safely and cost-effectively.
In 2018, Marathon Oil:
- Reported a 31% decrease in our methane intensity over a five-year period, largely due to our internal goal of eliminating routine usage of high-bleed pneumatic controllers, which we met ahead of schedule.
- Performed infrared camera surveys at over 800 sites, on over 1 million components, achieving a leak rate of less than 0.1% at surveyed locations that are subject to the EPA’s OOOOa regulation.
- Reduced water use per hydraulic fracturing stage from approximately 7,700 bbls per stage in 2017 to approximately 7,500 bbls per stage in 2018.
- Recorded a global spill volume reduction of 8%.
- Participated in workshops through The Environmental Partnership to learn about industry best practices and new technologies for preventing, finding and detecting emissions. Marathon Oil was a founding member of this partnership of U.S. oil and natural gas companies committed to continuously improving the industry’s environmental performance and reducing emissions of methane and volatile organic compounds (VOC).
- Demonstrated industry leadership to encourage adoption of best practices to reduce seismic activity, and implemented plans to prevent and mitigate seismic activity in our operations in Oklahoma as needed.
- Promoted responsible management of produced water in collaboration with stakeholders. Our actions included spearheading passage of a produced water law in New Mexico, providing testimony to the Texas legislature on produced water management solutions and contributing expertise to a Ground Water Protection Council white paper on potential reuse of produced water.
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