Operating efficiently is good for the environment and for business. We are pioneering new ways to safely drill faster and with fewer materials – leading to lower emissions and operating costs. Our focus on reducing methane losses from our operations provides more usable products to consumers. By managing our supply chain logistics, we minimize freight transportation miles, resulting in fewer air emissions.
Good environmental stewardship includes setting standards for waste management, decommissioning and minimization. We seek to identify new and better ways to diminish our environmental footprint and social impacts by becoming more efficient in the workplace and in the communities in which we operate.
We recognize the importance of global fresh water resources and are actively engaged in finding new ways to reuse non-potable water from our operations as an alternative to fresh water use. We launched the Global Water Sustainability Center to study technology related to produced water and desalination in 2010. We found ways to successfully use produced water instead of fresh water for drilling activities in the Permian Basin in Texas and are driving towards higher levels of water reuse in Canada to reduce fresh water requirements in our oil sands operations.
Disposing of Unusable Materials Safely
We have a global waste management standard that requires all operations to evaluate the waste they generate and the suitability of the waste facilities they use. The standard applies to all operations worldwide. In ventures where we are not the operator or hold a minority interest, we strive to influence our co-venturers to implement similar programs.
In the United States and Canada, for example, we developed a commercial waste management program to track waste disposal activity and compiled a list of company-approved commercial waste management facilities. We inspect potential new waste sites and periodically audit the sites that we choose to utilize. Preference is given to contractors who provide cost-effective responsible alternatives to landfill disposal. But if this is not an option, we select sites that comply with strict environmental standards.
We manage drilling platform decommissioning projects in a way that safeguards public safety and health and minimizes environmental impact. We removed 7 decommissioned platforms between 2009 and 2012 in the Ekofisk area of the North Sea. Two additional platforms were removed in 2013 and disposed of in 2014. For all platform installations removed through this project since 2009, the recovery rate (i.e., the combined reuse and recycling rate) of disposed structure materials exceeds 97%, excluding hazardous waste.
Around the world, we manage the disposal of surplus or obsolete electronic equipment in a process known as e-cycling. As part of this process, we negotiate contracts with vendors for the remarketing and recycling of electronic equipment, such as computers, televisions, microwave ovens, copiers, fax machines and telephones that no longer have value to ConocoPhillips, but may have value for others. In many locations, we have partnered with our recycling contractor to provide similar services for the public, using company locations as collection points. Additionally, our employees help their local communities collect household waste and recyclable material that cannot be disposed of in regular household garbage.