We illustrate our commitment to responsible environmental stewardship by implementing industry-leading environmental protection practices and technologies, striving for continuous performance improvement, and holding ourselves accountable through transparent reporting on our progress.
We ensure compliance by following our HSSE policies and procedures and through a comprehensive environmental management system that includes programs on Air Quality, Avian Protection, Site Reclamation, Incident Management, Spill Prevention, Storm Water Management, and Waste Management.
Our management system defines roles and responsibilities and the ultimate work authority for each area, specific job responsibilities for relevant workers at different levels and functional teams, and requirements and processes for each area.
In addition to supporting the expanded use of natural gas, which helps address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change, we are reducing emissions from our operations and across the oil and gas value chain to help address climate-related risks.
We reduce direct emissions through:
We reduce energy use and indirect emissions through:
We responsibly manage our impact to the environments in which we operate by respecting biodiversity and protecting sensitive habitats and ecosystems like rivers, wetlands, and nesting areas for raptors. All new projects undergo intensive assessments for the presence of natural and cultural resources that could be affected by our operations.
We prioritize avoiding rather than mitigating any impact to the environment throughout the entire project lifecycle. Third-party biologists also monitor activities at each major project stage for all new projects and major maintenance projects, consulting us on how to best minimize our impacts on these sensitive species, including stopping work on the project if necessary.
We aim to minimize the production of both hazardous and nonhazardous waste from our operations by implementing programs to reuse and recycle across our supply chain. Whenever possible, we recycle materials used in our operations including engine exhaust catalysts and used oil.
We follow a range of best practices to minimize the production of waste:
Preventing the release of any potentially harmful substances is our top environmental priority. We use a comprehensive monitoring and avoidance system to identify and stop potential releases. For example, employees at our Tactical Operations Center and local operations control centers remotely monitor equipment, including tank and pipeline pressure levels, and we can shut down much of our infrastructure remotely if alarms are triggered.
We install secondary containment around all containers holding 55 gallons or more of chemicals and process fluids. We conduct periodic third-party inspections to confirm Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) plans accurately reflect onsite equipment and to ensure oil storage containers are in proper working order.
Where feasible, we install engineering controls and processes that eliminate the potential for releases to occur.
We use a limited amount of fresh water for hydrostatic testing of pipelines and equipment, amine treatment processes in processing plants, cooling in facility operations, and drilling and completing of wastewater-injection wells. Thus, fresh water consumption is not a significant environmental impact in our operations.
Our primary potential water impact stems from the operation of our saltwater disposal system. As a natural byproduct of oil and natural gas production, produced water must be recycled or disposed of to maintain production. Produced water disposal systems remove hydrocarbon products and other sediments from the produced water and re-inject the produced water into designated geologic zones utilizing permitted disposal wells in compliance with applicable regulations.
We transport the majority of our customers’ produced-water to disposal wells via pipeline as opposed to trucks. Western Midstream operates 782 miles of produced water pipeline and 37 disposal wells, with associated water treatment facilities, in our Delaware Basin asset, and one water treatment site in our DJ Basin asset.
Before disposal, we store water in above-ground tanks with release prevention mechanisms and secondary containment liners, which reduces release risks, emissions, and wildlife impacts compared to open storage ponds.