Reducing Our Environmental Impact
Our success is tied to our stewardship. We work every day to be environmentally sensitive—reducing our impact through strategic design, innovation and a commitment to responsibility throughout the lifecycle of our operations.
Ovintiv supports the global ambition of reducing emissions to manage the risk of climate change. We have adopted—and continue to implement—a range of operational strategies to help manage and minimize emissions and drive efficiency through innovation. These best practices include new techniques, efficiencies and proven technology.
For example, we have a demonstrated history of equipping facilities, wellsites and pipelines with emissions reduction technologies and processes. This includes replacing diesel equipment with electric or natural gas driven machinery or using dual fuel technology.
We have tracked and monitored greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for more than 15 years and have significantly decreased our emissions intensity over that time. Effectively monitoring and tracking our air emissions allows us to implement cost-effective measures to minimize our emissions and set reduction goals for continuous improvement.
Through our emissions management program, we comply with all state, provincial and federal regulatory requirements. We also are on track to meet the Canadian target to reduce methane by 40 to 45% by 2025, relative to 2012 emissions.
Partnering for Effective Climate Change Policy
We work closely with our key stakeholders to address concerns related to climate change, including collaborating with industry peers to inform regulatory development. We participate in voluntary emissions reduction programs like The Environmental Partnership and initiatives through the Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada (PTAC).
“We recognize both the need to address the risk of climate change and we support the global ambition to reduce emissions. We also recognize the world needs affordable, accessible and reliable energy, including oil and gas. Our collective challenge is to deliver on both of these imperatives efficiently and in an environmentally responsible manner. We are well positioned to contribute to a lower emissions future through innovation and the application of leading-edge technology.”
−Brendan McCracken President, Ovintiv
Leak Detection and Repair
Tracking and reporting methane emissions and intensity allows us to consistently benchmark our methane reduction efforts throughout our operations. Leak detection and repair (LDAR) has been a part of Ovintiv’s environmental strategy for nearly 15 years. Using optical gas imaging (OGI) cameras, we identify leaks and initiate repairs to reduce methane emissions on-site.
OGI surveyors can scan thousands of connection points from a safe distance, using the camera’s technology to see these invisible gases. We also utilize unmanned drones, equipped with OGI cameras, to conduct aerial surveys of facilities, pipelines or hard-to-reach areas. We comply with local and federal LDAR regulations and implement a voluntary LDAR program to complete additional surveys at certain non-regulated facilities.
We monitor equipment including wellheads, separators, heaters, tanks and flow lines or leaks from malfunctioning components such as valves, connectors, flanges, pressure relief devices and open-ended lines. Surveys typically occur on a bi-monthly, quarterly or semi-annual basis depending on requirements, inspections and directed maintenance. We also supplement our OGI monitoring with on-site audio, visual, olfactory (AVO) surveys.
Leak Repair and Improvement
- Data Analysis and Directed Maintenance
Reducing the Need to Flare
Flaring of natural gas may occur during upset and emergency conditions. Ovintiv avoids routine flaring whenever possible and does not develop wells in areas lacking the necessary pipeline infrastructure to recover and manage associated gas. To better understand our associated gas flaring, we created an internal dashboard that allows us to view the percentage of associated gas flared in each operating area.
Water is both a key aspect of our business and critical to the communities where we operate. We manage this valuable resource efficiently taking responsibility for the water we use.
Although access to water and water scarcity are global issues, we tailor our water management approach to address local and regional water concerns. Ovintiv’s water management program considers location, resources, regulations, water stress, cost and operational need when planning water solutions by site and operating area. We recognize that water sources vary by region and no single water management approach works for all areas.
We are committed to finding and using alternative water sources when feasible, including investing in facilities that efficiently collect, treat and reuse produced and flowback water. Reusing this alternative water reduces our reliance on surface water resources and improves the efficiency of our water handling. For continuous improvement across our industry, we also collaborate with other producers on water management opportunities.
Water Stress Assessment
Percentage of water stress in operations by county
World Resources Institute (WRI) Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas
Water and Hydraulic Fracturing
Much of Ovintiv’s water use occurs during hydraulic fracturing operations. The controlled completions operation pumps a mixture of primarily water and sand through the wellbore to the targeted formation at a high pressure in multiple intervals. In all Ovintiv operations, rigorous water management and protection are vital parts of this process.
Proper wellbore design and a steel casing system prevent fluids from migrating from the wellbore and protect local groundwater. Our wells are designed with advanced planning and engineering. Constructed with multiple layers of high-strength and impermeable steel casing and cement to protect groundwater and freshwater zones, our wells are built to last until the production phase has concluded.
Ovintiv uses multiple techniques to monitor each hydraulic fracturing treatment we conduct. We ensure the integrity of the casing and cement system through field inspection and wellbore logging. Before we begin completion operations, we also pressure test to ensure integrity. We then continually monitor pressures during each fracturing operational stage. Any flow of fluids into nontargeted areas will be detected immediately by a sudden loss in pressure and operations will be halted.
Responsible Products and Chemical Disclosure
Ovintiv’s Responsible Products Program provides guidance on managing additive and chemical use in hydraulic fracturing to comply with regulations and mitigate potential impacts. We prohibit the use of hydraulic fracturing fluid products containing diesel diesel fuels and, heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, 2-Butoxyethanol (2-BE) or benzene.
Hydraulic fracturing processes are strictly regulated by various state or provincial government agencies. These regulations include keeping safety data sheets (SDS) that detail the ingredients used in hydraulic fracturing fluid at each location. U.S. and Canadian regulatory bodies establish standards for the disclosure of this information, including the protection of trade secrets and confidential business information. We report the ingredients we are legally permitted to share through the FracFocus chemical disclosure registry.
We continue to build upon our detailed understanding of the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process to ensure we are using the most responsible hydraulic fracturing fluid formulations and fluid management practices available.
Preventing spills is essential to minimizing environmental impacts, maintaining our social and regulatory license to operate and ensuring a safe workplace.
Effective spill management requires routine maintenance, situational preparedness, continuous improvement and adherence to regulatory reporting requirements. Our Spill Prevention Principles focus on four areas:
- Transferring fluid.
- Following operational procedures.
- Ensuring equipment integrity.
- Considering spill prevention in our site design.
We use these principles to incorporate field-based practices into our operations and worksites to prevent spills from occurring. If spills do occur, we report them accurately and manage them efficiently before evaluating their causes to improve our processes.
Site Assessment and Conservation
We follow a rigorous site assessment program to help ensure protection for land and water resources, wildlife and habitats during our operational lifecycle. Developed by biology and environmental experts, our process balances development plans with a thoughtful approach to ecosystem protection and biodiversity.
Site Assessment Program
Identify environmental factors, including wildlife, habitats and areas with high biodiversity or conservation value.
Assess our development plans to determine environmental risk levels and, when needed, recommend mitigation strategies.
Manage avoidance activities recommended for each site.
Mitigate impacts through sitespecific planning if complete avoidance if not possible.
Materials and Waste Management
The effective management of our waste materials helps to reduce our environmental impact. Our waste management program includes:
- Data collection and reporting.
- Proper storage, handling and transporting of waste.
- Tracking for reuse or disposal.
- Identifying recycling opportunities.
- Maintaining regulatory requirements
Whenever possible, we promote the recycling or reusing of materials in our operations. For those materials that can’t be recycled, we have processes for transportation, treatment and disposal in compliance with regulatory requirements. Our service providers also must abide by our standards and comply with all regulations.
Natural Occurring Radioactive Materials
Our naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) management process identifies and controls NORM in our facilities to protect the health of our team. We have established roles, responsibilities and training requirements related to potential NORM exposures, and only specially trained employees and service providers are permitted to work with impacted equipment. Any NORM-impacted waste is disposed of in compliance with jurisdictional regulations.
Although the occurrence and risk of seismicity is generally very low, it has been linked to both deep saltwater disposal wells and hydraulic fracturing in certain regions. Ovintiv has operating procedures to help manage the occurrence and magnitude of induced seismicity to levels that minimize any associated or perceived risks.
Ovintiv supports research efforts in conjunction with regulators that help inform the understanding and management of induced seismicity events. We are proactively addressing seismic activity through partnerships with independent research institutions and regulatory agencies to track and identify potential causes of induced seismicity. In addition, we have established best practices to mitigate the occurrence of seismicity during hydraulic fracturing.
Ovintiv Seismicity Mitigation Plan
- Planning and Design
- Risk Management
- Regulatory Compliance
- Third-Party Facilities