We take a precautionary approach and apply a combination of corporate requirements and risk-based local solutions to manage our environmental performance. We strive to adhere to high standards of emissions to air, waste management and impact on ecosystems—wherever we work. This includes integrating environmental and social risk management into our planning and decision-making processes, at all levels in the organisation.
We closely monitor air emissions from the Equinor-operated assets on our overall environmental performance. In addition to CO2 emissions, we also monitor nitrogen oxide (NOx), emissions of non-methane volatile organic compounds and SOx emissions.
We work closely with our suppliers to qualify and implement new technology to improve the cleansing of produced water. Our research and development portfolio includes activities to further improve our expertise and transfer this to operational units on the NCS in order to improve the performance of cleaning technologies.
For instance, subsea separation of produced water from the well stream and the injection of water into geological formations beneath the seabed reduces discharges of potentially harmful waste products. We have substantial experience in this area and are planning to strengthen our position even further in the years to come.
We are concerned with valuing and protecting biodiversity and the ecosystem. We follow precautionary rules and regulations to minimise the potential negative effects of our activities, especially during seismic data acquisition. We also support research programmes to increase knowledge about ecosystems and biodiversity.
Equinor continues to be an active participant in a joint Biodiversity Working Group of IPIECA and the Oil and Gas Producers Association (OGP). This cooperation has resulted in the development of specific tools and recommendations for industry best practice. We also support the maintenance and development of the World Database on Protected Areas and other GIS-based databases containing information on high-value biodiversity areas. We use these databases actively in environmental risk and impact evaluations.
We are aware of stakeholders’ concerns regarding the use of chemicals in hydraulic fracturing processes in our shale activities. To promote transparency, we publicly disclose the chemicals used in our US onshore operations through FracFocus.
Our chemical management programme entails registration of the chemicals used, followed by a health, safety and environmental assessment and hazard ranking by Equinor’s Chemical Centre. The assessments and hazard rankings are then used to categorise chemicals so that those potentially more harmful are further evaluated for risks to people and the environment. If risk evaluations determine that risks are low due to nominal concentrations or application method (e.g. by using a closed loop system), then planned usage may continue. Chemicals with high risks that cannot be reduced are reviewed with the supplier for substitution for lower risk products. Research and development efforts provide additional opportunities to use chemicals with lower risks to people and the environment. More information about the chemicals used in our shale activities is available in the Drilling and Hydraulic Fracturing Fact Sheet.