To prevent spills and protect the environment, Marathon Oil designs, operates and maintains our facilities with mechanical safeguards and secondary containment systems, and uses spill control plans. In addition, we participated in an API-led effort to develop recommended practices for the use of layflat hose to transfer water for hydraulic fracturing purposes, in order to improve safety and reduce the risk of spills. We also invest in employee training, procedures, preventive maintenance and inspections for fluid-containing equipment and facilities.
In all resource plays, Marathon Oil stores both hydrocarbons and untreated produced water at our production facilities in storage tanks with secondary containment. Produced water may also be stored in open-top tanks during fracturing and flowback operations, when crews are onsite and able to respond quickly to a spill. To protect wildlife, we use active deterrents such as netting, strobe lights, flags and air horns for temporary pits that may hold recycled water during completions activities.
If a spill does occur, we activate our comprehensive response capabilities to contain the spill and protect the surrounding environment. We train local, regional and corporate response teams, and conduct drills and exercises to maintain their readiness. We also have a network of response contractors and consultants.
When investigating spills and discharges to determine their cause, we look at both the actual and potential severity of the spill. The company takes incident-specific actions and, if necessary, broad corrective actions including remediation.
The number of spill events to the environment greater than or equal to one barrel decreased by 36% in 2019. However, we experienced an increase in spill volumes due to two large events. Both events were the result of pipeline integrity issues on produced water lines, one in the Bakken and one in the Eagle Ford. The total spill volume from these two incidents was approximately 47,500 barrels of produced water. We’re working to enhance our control logic for our pipeline systems to better detect leaks in dynamic flow conditions to reduce the probability of recurrence of isolated, high-impact events.
In the U.S., we compare our Total Fluid Spill Rate to other large independent oil and natural gas companies that participate in the American Exploration & Production Council (AXPC). Our Total Fluid Spill Rate of 0.25 for all fluids spilled (barrels) per 1,000 barrels of production in 2019 was above the AXPC average of .08.
- ᵃ Data includes spills outside of secondary containment greater than or equal to 1 barrel
- ᵇ ~47,500 barrels of 2019 total spill volume was produced water
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