Supporting Sustainable Environments
Western Midstream is committed to responsible environmental stewardship by implementing industry-leading environmental protection practices and technologies while maintaining the safety of our employees and the community. Potential impacts on the environment and human health and safety receive the highest rating in our formal risk prioritization and avoidance process.
We follow comprehensive environmental management processes as part of our overall HSSE management system, which clearly defines roles and responsibilities and the ultimate work authority for each area. Managing our environmental performance is a coordinated effort between the HSSE, Engineering, and Operations groups and is overseen by the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.
Climate Change and Emissions Management
We believe that climate change is one of the most critical challenges of our time and presents significant risks for society and our business. We are committed to doing our part to address these risks and maximize the opportunities that come from a global energy transition.
Natural gas, one of the primary products we transport for our customers, plays a vital role in the global transition to cleaner energy sources. Natural gas not only provides a lower-emission bridge fuel for generating electricity and powering industry, it also supports the use of renewables by providing a versatile, quick-to-ramp-up fuel source for times when wind, solar, and other alternative fuels are not available or cannot meet peak demand.
Western Midstream supports emissions reduction strategies using innovative design, technology and robust maintenance, inspection and repair processes. We are constantly implementing designs and technologies to reduce and eliminate our emissions footprint. Some examples detailed in our report are:
Reducing leaks and fugitive emissions through stringent leak detection and repair processes
Reducing and eliminating emissions associated with the trucking of hydrocarbons by using pipelines to transport products directly from our direct-from-wellhead pipeline infrastructure
Reducing emissions from stored oil by minimizing storage before pumping into pipelines and using floating roof tanks when oil must be stored
Using instrument air driven pneumatic devices and low-emission dehydration units
Using lower-emission electric power and zero-emission solar power where possible
Routing waste gases back into our system using pressure instead of venting or flaring
of relevant Western Midstream sites have leak detection and repair (LDAR) in place
of our inspected assets were found to be free of leaks in 2019 during routine LDAR surveys
Western Midstream is one of the founding members of The Environmental Partnership, a voluntary oil and natural gas industry partnership committed to continuously improving the industry’s environmental performance
Biodiversity and Surface Impacts
All new projects undergo intensive assessments for the presence of natural and cultural resources that could be affected by our operations. We prioritize avoiding any impact to the environment rather than focusing on mitigating issues. Any work that impacts sensitive species or land must be approved by a vice president or senior-level executive. We carefully safeguard endangered and sensitive species and land across the lifecycle of our projects from planning, design and construction to ongoing operations and decommissioning.
of infrastructure projects undergo extensive environmental screenings as part of the planning, engineering, construction, operations, and decommissioning processes to avoid impacts to sensitive species and habitats
pre-construction surveys completed for natural and cultural resources in 2019, covering 100% of our construction activities
Release Prevention and Response
Preventing the release of any potentially harmful substances is our top priority. Applying engineering controls and design to minimize the potential for a spill is always our first course of action. All our applicable facilities have Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) plans, which are reviewed regularly and updated as required. If a release occurs, we execute mitigation plans to control the source of the release, remove released material, and remediate impacted soils or groundwater. All releases are tracked internally for root-cause analysis and trend identification, regardless of whether they require regulatory reporting.
While we use a limited amount of water for hydrostatic testing of pipelines and other equipment, amine-treatment processes in processing plants, cooling in facility operations, and drilling and completing of wastewater-injection wells, water consumption is not a significant environmental impact for Western Midstream.
Our primary potential water impact stems from the disposal of produced water. Western Midstream operates 33 disposal wells in West Texas and disposes of approximately 750,000 barrels of water a day. We transport the majority of our customers’ produced water to disposal wells via pipeline as opposed to trucks. Our extensive network of permanent underground water pipelines significantly reduces release risks and allows us to reduce trucking-related emissions, improve road safety, and minimize road degradation associated with trucking. To further reduce the risk of releases, we require our water-gathering systems to abide by the same stringent, pipeline-integrity requirements that we mandate for our oil and gas pipelines. Read more about our disposal process and our water management approach in our report.