Get To Know Some Of The Oil Majors’ Sustainability Strategies
The oil and gas sector is one that has a lot of ups and downs; and advantages and disadvantages. A major benefit of the oil sector is the reliance of people on the energy produced in the sector.
This sector has been the major supplier of energy for a long time. And despite the recent rise in the use of other energy sources, oil and gas energy is still the most sought after.
On the other hand, the amount of environmental hazards this sector poses to us and the earth is enormous. Pollution is one of these environmental hazards. And the effects of these hazards are health problems, and on a broader scope, global warming.
There are three main stages that are involved in oil production: the upstream, midstream, and downstream. And each of these stages contributes its own quota of pollution to the environment.
For instance, the upstream stage is where they extract crude oil from the earth. The environmental risks of this stage are oil spills and the degradation of the environment closest to the site of extraction.
Other environmental challenges include the management and disposal of wastes from the extraction site.
It is in the midstream stage that the oil company transports the recently extracted oil to the refineries for processing. The fumes from the transport vehicles add more pollution to the atmosphere.
No matter how much the pollution from this second stage is, it almost amounts to nothing when you compare it with the environmental hazards of the last stage. The whole refinement process goes on in this downstream stage.
This is where the extracted crude oil is refined to its derivatives, including diesel, petroleum, kerosene, and others. The amount of toxic gases that escape into the atmosphere in this stage alone is in enormous proportions.
Challenges of the Oil and Gas Sector
When you weigh the negative effects of the oil and gas sector against its positive effects, it is hard to conclude that one outweighs the other. This is because the reliance on the energy from the oil and gas companies is massive.
But just as massive are the environmental risks they expose us to. As a result, the use of other sources of energy that don’t pose as much risk to the environment is being encouraged.
Because of the uprising of competition, the oil majors have to do something about their predicament to ensure sustainability. Being the major stakeholders in the sector, oil majors could stand to lose the most if they let the competitors take over the energy production sector. That is why they are most concerned about sustainability.
However, they are not called oil majors for nothing. Most of them have quickly devised plans and strategies to integrate sustainability into their operations. Here are some of those strategies:
1. Assessment of Impact and Adequate Planning
This strategy ensures that the oil majors anticipate the impacts that their activities may cause. They would have to do a lot of data collection and modeling but it’s all worth it.
Knowing what is at stake helps the oil majors to make detailed plans on how to conquer issues when they arise. And after they make the plans, they put solutions in place in anticipation of the problems.
The benefit of this strategy is that it helps the oil majors make crucial decisions that have the least detrimental effects on the environment.
Some of the decisions this strategy could help them make may include creating environmental management plans, choosing the best technology to use for their projects, and selecting sites where the negative effects of their activities would not overwhelm the immediate environment.
2. Management of the Environment Around the Extraction Sites
Oil drilling exposes the immediate environment around the extraction sites to unspeakable hazards. For instance, an oil spill could occur, polluting the water around and causing illnesses for the humans who live in those areas.
What oil majors then do is that they up their management game. They use technologies and practices that ensure that there are minimum oil spills.
And even in the case of oil spills in water bodies, they have ways to decontaminate the water. By doing these, they are able to curb disasters and manage their facilities.
3. Monitoring and Taking Steps to Reduce Effects on Climate
This is a simple strategy the oil majors implemented to reduce the negative effects of their activities on the climate. They simply look for ways, technologies, and practices that help them reduce the amount of pollution they release into the atmosphere.
It is important to know that it is impossible to completely eradicate air pollution from the activities of the oil and gas sector. However, the oil majors are trying their best to reduce it as much as they can.
One of the methods they use is by practicing carbon and water footprinting. With this, they are able to know the amount of greenhouse gases they release into the atmosphere. They are then able to take measures to cut down emissions.
With these strategies, they have been able to reduce environmental risks significantly. However, issues of pollution still plague them, but they are far more sustainable than they were.
Also, they keep working on new ways to cut down the negative effects of their activities on the environment.