Environment
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Our Commitment to the Environment

We apply advanced technology, rigorous operational procedures and practical solutions to operate safely in an effort to protect water sources, preserve water quality, minimize our surface footprint and reduce waste.

We ranked No. 1 in the U.S. energy sector in Newsweek magazine's “Green Rankings” in both 2011 and 2012. In addition, we ranked No. 12 among the most transparent companies in the U.S. in 2012 on the same index.

To monitor our impact on the environment, we assess baseline environmental conditions before any activity begins, as operations are ongoing, and as we prepare to exit the site.

We are committed to protecting water sources with responsible drilling and completion practices, compliance with regulations and standards, monitoring air emissions and minimizing our surface land use.

Our Commitment to the Environment

Our operating practices define the environment, health, safety and social responsibility requirements for each stage of our shale oil and gas operations.

Protection of Water Sources

Responsible water management is another way we minimize our impact. We protect fresh water supplies through responsible drilling practices and appropriate sourcing, storage and disposal of water used in the drilling and hydraulic fracturing processes.

To ensure that communities where we operate have full access to information about our business and the material we use at each of our sites, Hess discloses information relating to our hydraulic fracturing fluids on the FracFocus website which is run by the Groundwater Protection Council. Hess voluntarily disclosed to FracFocus before many states made the practice mandatory. Data from our hydraulic fracturing operations since 2011 is currently available on FracFocus.

Water Management

We have installed closed-loop drilling fluid containment systems at all our U.S. operations, reducing the need for waste water storage pits and giving us the ability to contain fluids until they can be safely treated and disposed of at a permitted facility.

Responsible Drilling and Completion Practices

We design our oil and gas wells in accordance with well design and completion standards and applicable regulatory requirements and standards.

By employing industry proven drilling technologies we can safely produce more oil and natural gas from more compact well sites and minimize our overall surface footprint.

Hydrocarbon-bearing formations are most often found thousands of feet below the deepest fresh water aquifer. Wells are lined with multiple layers of steel pipe and encased in cement to isolate fresh water aquifers, preventing fluids or gas in the well from seeping into ground water.

Hess participates in external associations to ensure that we are aware of technological and environmental advances in our industry.

Compliance with Regulations and Standards

We work closely with state and local regulators to ensure that we are in compliance with the requirements and standards outlined by federal and state regulators as well as overall industry guidelines.

Air Emissions and Air Monitoring

Hess is committed to protecting air quality and reducing emissions in areas where we operate.

In North Dakota, where we have large-scale operations, we are working to reduce the amount of gas we flare by investing in our gas gathering infrastructure. We are in the process of more than doubling the size of the Tioga Gas Plant which processes the gas we produce. The expansion will significantly improve our ability to process the gas produced from our operations and will reduce our need to flare gas.

Minimizing Surface Land Use

Our philosophy is to minimize our surface land use and reduce the number of well sites needed to develop our acreage. We do this by using horizontal drilling and by grouping multiple wells on a single well pad rather than drilling only one well per pad.

When our leases have short-term expiration dates, we drill a single vertical well to hold the lease by production and return later in the field development phase to drill multiple wells from that same location, reducing our surface footprint.

We respect local habitats and biodiversity. Special care is taken around locally important or endangered species.

In addition to job creation, shale oil and gas development has offered economic advantages to landowners and leaseholders. In the past five years, our production royalty payments to North Dakota residents have quadrupled to more than $144 million.

In every state where we have shale oil and gas production, increased tax revenue has helped close budget gaps. Additionally the lower cost of energy has led to a resurgence of key industries such as steel, petrochemicals and energy intensive manufacturing.

As more international shale oil and gas opportunities are appraised, similar economic advantages and job creation may be realized by other nations with similar resources.

Minimizing Impact During Operations

New Opportunities Bring New Challenges in North Dakota

The oil industry has brought tremendous wealth and jobs to North Dakota, but there are also challenges that need to be recognized and addressed.

A historic boom in shale oil and gas production in North Dakota’s Bakken has brought new residents and businesses to a remote area that hadn’t experienced a population increase in 100 years. More production means more jobs and more jobs means more people. This increase in activity also means that infrastructure in small towns has to expand and adapt at a rapid pace to accommodate the activity associated with production.

While this rapid growth is good news for the local economy, businesses and residents, the sustainability of the communities where we operate is a priority.

Hess has been in North Dakota for more than 60 years and has a stake in the success of the area. We are working with our employees and contractors, as well as community leaders, to help alleviate traffic and maintain a high standard for safety during this period of rapid growth.

Managing Increased Traffic

More people are driving to work in the morning and more trucks are transporting the water, natural gas and oil fuelling the shale energy boom. We know that increased traffic has an impact on the entire community. That is why we are committed to reducing road congestion by sponsoring commuter car pool programs and we are working quickly to build and find alternative methods of transportation to reduce the number of trucks on local roads. We require every driver on Hess business to complete driver training classes because we want North Dakota roads to be safe for everyone.

Hess is transporting more of its oil and gas via new pipelines throughout North Dakota and is committed to increasing the use of pipelines to reduce reliance on trucking as the primary means of transporting produced oil and gas.

Keeping Local Roads Safe

Hess is committed to road safety. Employees, contractors and visitors are not permitted to drive a car on Hess business in North Dakota without successfully completing a rigorous Proactive Driving course. To make sure that our drivers use the skills they learn in the classroom, all Hess vehicles are fitted with GPS technology that allows the company to monitor activity including speed, rates of acceleration and braking. “That way,” said David McKay, director of the Bakken Project, “if we find that we have drivers who aren’t driving safely, or doing things that pose a risk to local communities, we can and will take immediate action.”

Hess also reviews the safety programs and safety records of our suppliers to ensure that we do business with companies that meet our expectations and share our commitment to safety. We work with companies whose equipment is mechanically sound and competent. “We believe that creating a safe work environment for our people and for the communities where we operate is the most important thing we can do,” McKay said.

Minimizing Fresh Water Use

We look for fresh water substitutions and try to recycle and reuse recovered fracturing fluids.

Our Exploration and Production business has formed a water management technology team to develop fracturing fluid water quality and reuse guidelines and to recommend technology applications. The team analyzes water sources, including fresh water, saline water and wastewater, and assesses their suitability for hydraulic fracturing. 

Final Water Use PDF

Approaching Our Projects with Care

We approach our projects in a defined way. 

The PDF below outlines the phases of a typical Hess project from the earliest stages of its identification right through to production.

Project Phases PDF​

Participating in the National Hydraulic Fracturing Chemical Registry

We believe a transparent, honest dialogue is the key to developing trusted partnerships.

We work closely with local organizations and key authorities to safeguard the environment throughout the course of our operations.

To ensure that communities where we operate have full access to information about our business and the material we use at each of our sites, we disclose information on the FracFocus website which is run by the Groundwater Protection Council. We voluntarily disclosed to FracFocus before many states made the practice mandatory.

FracFocus posts information about the additives used in hydraulic fracturing fluid, describing what is used in detail, down to the individual well level as well as the volumes of water and chemicals used. We provide data to FracFocus on all of our well activity in the U.S.

Go to FracFocus website