Preventing Spills

Reducing spills is one of our key performance objectives — a goal that drives accountability across all employee levels. Using spill causal analysis, strategic facility design and operational improvements, we have decreased our number of spills reportable to regulatory agencies each year since 2013. It is our goal to continue to improve by reducing our reportable spill count by 10% from 2015 to 2016. 

 

Spill Prevention

Prevention is our primary goal in reducing our number of spills. Goal setting, paired with our spill prevention initiatives, has enabled us to make significant improvements. Members from our Engineering, Operations and Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) teams collaborate to implement operational design improvements needed to prevent spills, collect and analyze spill data, identify spill causes, and recommend process and quality improvements to address each specific incident. Our prevention efforts focus on five main spill causes: pipeline failure, corrosion, weather, human error and equipment failure.

One example of a spill prevention initiative is our integrity management program, which focuses on proactively identifying and correcting corrosion on our equipment. Over time, weather conditions and the saltwater produced from our operations can corrode steel equipment, potentially causing a leak or malfunction. Early detection of corrosion is key, and field staff regularly receive training on how to identify tank corrosion as part of their field equipment inspections. Should a corrosion problem be identified, we either repair the corroded area or replace the equipment. 

Beyond repairing or replacing equipment, we established a company standard that all new and replacement storage tanks will be coated to resist corrosion. We also encourage the use of sacrificial anodes as part of our facility design. These anodes are pieces of metal that are more susceptible to corrosion, and, because they corrode first, the integrity of our equipment is protected. 

Secondary containment for storage tanks is also a key element to our facility design and spill protection efforts. It is a company standard that production storage tanks feature secondary containment with an impermeable liner that captures fluid and protects the soil should a spill occur. This material is a permanent element of the site, designed to last the life of the well or facility. 

Spill Response

Should an incident occur, Chesapeake activates its spill response plan involving our Operations and Environment teams to focus first on safety, and then on environmental protection and regulatory compliance. For major incidents, we also involve our Emergency Preparedness and Response group. In 2015, using vacuum systems, we recovered an average of 75% of fluids spilled. Beyond vacuuming, we can also excavate and remediate to reduce environmental impact.