We continuously monitor environmental performance across our operations and endeavor to meet or exceed all applicable laws and regulations in an effort to minimize environmental impacts. We are committed to a year-over-year reduction in federally reportable releases as we strive toward our goal of zero incidents.
We manage, minimize and reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, manage and reduce our energy consumption, and incorporate sustainability measures into our business planning. To that end, we assess, and where feasible adopt, innovative technologies to increase efficiencies and reduce GHG emissions.
Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions
Emissions from liquids midstream activities are significantly lower than that of other oil and gas industry segments.
Methane concentrations in crude oil and NGLs are generally very low and, as a result, our methane emissions are correspondingly low, particularly when compared to peer operators and the broader hydrocarbon energy industry. The bulk of our methane emissions are associated with our natural gas processing activities. Most of our non-methane direct GHG emissions are associated with fuel combustion in our NGL processing operations and trucking activities.
Plains strives to comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) GHG regulatory reporting requirements and the Environment and Climate Change Canada GHG regulatory reporting requirements, as well as provincial GHG reporting requirement programs.
We are committed to reducing the GHG emissions from our operations, the most notable opportunity for which is through increasing the efficiency of how we move and use energy. Selected highlights of our efforts to date include:
- Shifting meaningful volumes from trucks to pipelines.
- Transitioning from generator power to grid electrical power where feasible.
- Increasing our use of electric power for pumps and other rotating equipment rather than generator power.
- Upgrading truck engines and emission control systems.
- Using drag-reducing agents to optimize power use.
- Scrutinizing our operations broadly to increase efficiency and reduce energy consumption.
Biodiversity and Conservation
We remain committed to supporting healthy ecosystems, protecting ecologically and culturally sensitive areas, and minimizing our environmental footprint.
- Through the design and construction of our assets, we strive to minimize impacts to the environment through careful consideration of the concerns of stakeholders, including private landowners and state/provincial and federal regulatory entities.
- In operating our assets, our goal is to establish and maintain balance with, and sensitivity to, the surrounding natural environment. We strive to preserve air and water quality, wildlife and their habitats, and traditional land and resource use.
This life cycle commitment—minimizing significant disturbances, mitigating impacts to the environment, and enhancing biodiversity where possible—promotes a focus on identifying and employing practices and protections that avoid undue impacts to the environment.
Our commitment to protecting the environment extends through all phases of pipeline design and construction and complies with all federal, state and provincial acts and regulations that exist to minimize or avoid adverse environmental effects that can result from development.
Pre-Construction: Prior to initiating a project, environmental assessments are performed to evaluate whether any sensitive areas may be affected by construction activities. The assessments also identify the best methods to minimize impacts on soil, vegetation, wetlands, water quality, air quality, fish, wildlife, their habitat, heritage resources, and traditional land and resource use. Consultation with landowners, Aboriginal communities and other potentially affected stakeholders also help identify local environmental issues and thereby assists Plains in designing appropriate protection measures.
During Construction: Environmental impacts are minimized by following mitigation measures outlined in a project-specific environmental plan and appropriate construction permits. When working in or adjacent to a water course, special construction techniques are used to prevent erosion and sediment from entering waterways in accordance with a project-specific Best Management Practices Plan. Where required, water quality is monitored and wooden mats are used to protect ground cover and/or wetland environments.
When construction activities are completed, efforts are directed to restore the disturbed areas and reestablish vegetation. We continue to monitor the recovery of the project area until site conditions have met the levels similar to pre-construction conditions.
Water and Waste Management
We recognize the importance of good water management practices, even though, as a midstream operator, Plains is not an intensive consumer of water. We understand the significance of protecting water quality and sources, as well as the need for efficient water use.
Plains is committed to recycling and reducing waste while encouraging more sustainable material use.