29 May 2013

Santos GLNG and ConocoPhillips have won environment awards at the APPEA national conference in Brisbane from a strong field of candidates.

Announcing the awards at Tuesday night’s Conference Dinner, APPEA Environment Committee Chairman Eric Streitberg said this year’s awards clearly illustrated the Australian oil and gas industry’s high standards of environmental management.

Category A (Production) winner: Santos GLNG

Santos has developed and implemented a program of groundwater monitoring that integrates automated telemetry with the existing network of landholder bores in its field operations areas.

The system lets Santos use real-time data to efficiently monitor groundwater on a regional scale. This enables fast, accurate reporting to the regulator, as well as early identification of potential problems and rapid response to any issues. It also reduces the time field staff spend on on-site monitoring, reducing inconvenience to landholders.

Because it is open and transparent to landholders, the monitoring system gives them reassurance on Santos’s operations and protection of groundwater.

This award recognises the automated real-time groundwater monitoring system’s contribution to openness, accountability and environmental excellence.

Category B (Exploration) winner: ConocoPhillips Australia

ConocoPhillips has opted to gather baseline environment data early in the exploration phase of its Poseidon exploration program.

In January 2012, ConocoPhillips Australia began a new environmental research program at Seringapatam Reef and the surrounding region off the north-western Australian coast.

The Seringapatam Reef region supports diverse aggregations of marine life in an unspoilt environment. Greater understanding is needed of how the systems at Seringapatam and nearby Scott Reef interact and how they influence the wider region’s environment.

The data gathered will tie in with similar studies conducted at nearby Scott Reef to give a more complete view of the Browse Basin’s deepwater ecosystem. The data on reef spawning, water quality, and ocean floor communities, including satellite remote sensing and noise data, have provided an expanded view of the regional environmental conditions. Establishing baseline conditions gives an invaluable time and data point from which to judge changes and impacts to this unique ecosystem.

Over the last 17 months, data from five field studies has been collected and analysed. The work to date has been very successful in meeting data collection goals. As the research continues, the data will be published and shared with scientists and regulatory bodies.

This will enhance understanding of risks that petroleum activities pose in this region, which will help develop operational frameworks to minimise the environmental footprint of exploration and production in this part of the Browse Basin.

This award recognises the positive outcomes on the environment and Australia’s offshore exploration industry that can be gained through sharing knowledge.

Industry continuing to step up

Mr Streitberg said Australia’s oil and gas industry recognises that its environmental credentials and performance are critical to maintaining community and government support for industry access to energy resources.

“The industry has a strong environmental record, but companies such as Santos and ConocoPhillips continue to find new ways to enhance their performance,” Mr Streitberg said. Download PDF

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