A Collaborative EHS Program
As a leader in the oil and gas exploration and production industry for over 125 years and as a long-standing member of the communities in which we operate, we have a legacy of placing high value on conducting our business with respect and care for people and the environment. Exemplary safety performance is an integral part of our business and contributes to our goal of promoting the health, safety, security and well being of our employees, our contractors and local communities, while also maintaining the quality of the environment in which we perform our work.
Our EHS Management System enhances our ability to achieve our EHS goals by establishing a corporate governance framework for EHS compliance. Led by a team of experienced professionals, our EHS department partners with all areas of the company to guide and support our activities. Our EHS team works hard to meet the safety standards set for our company and support a culture of safety. They do this with training, compliance, preparedness planning, and monitoring and measurement reviews. Through management leadership and employee involvement our EHS programs are working to help us:
- Comply with all applicable safety, health, security and environmental laws, regulations and Cabot policies;
- Prevent pollution, reduce wastes and emissions, and conserve energy and other natural resources by minimizing the environmental risks associated with our operations;
- Prevent incidents and maintain effective emergency preparedness and response programs;
- Continually improve health, safety, security and environmental performance results with a management system designed to establish goals and assess performance;
- Ensure each employee understands and is responsible and accountable for health, safety, security and environmental performance while conducting their daily business activities;
- Work with our partners, contractors and suppliers to achieve EHS performance consistent with our objectives; and
- Promote open communication throughout our organization and nurture frequent dialog and communication forums with our employees, the community and with applicable regulatory agencies on EHS matters.
Another important aspect of our EHS program is the Safety & Environmental Affairs (S&E) Committee of our Board of Directors, which was formed in 1991 to help ensure the independence of the S&E function at Cabot. The S&E Committee meets on a quarterly basis, to ensure effective oversight of the increasingly complex nature of safety and environmental regulations and to oversee our continued commitment to being a good corporate citizen and an environmental steward in the communities in which we operate.
Click on the topics below to learn more about some of the key components of our EHS programs:
We have emergency response plans in place for all areas of our operations, consisting of our Integrated Contingency Plan (ICP) and Emergency Response Plan (ERP) based upon the Incident Command System (ICS) adopted by all levels of government — federal, state, tribal and local — as well as many private sector companies. The primary purpose of our emergency procedures is to establish a plan that ensures our response to emergencies is efficient, coordinated, and effective, in addition to delivering the necessary protection to the community and the environment in which we work. These plans are designed to protect the health and safety of our employees and contractors, the environment, our assets and our reputation. We conduct training and drills on a regular basis with our personnel and third party responders to ensure the readiness and preparedness of our response personnel.
In many of our drilling operations, we use third party S&E specialists on location to assist site personnel with monitoring activities and minimizing the risks associated with drilling activities. These S&E specialists provide guidance on JSEAs (Job Safety & Environmental Analysis), waste management, materials handling, fluids transfer, and numerous other tasks designed to assess and minimize the safety and environmental risks of the ongoing activities. We also use third party inspectors in other areas of our operations, including completion operations and hydraulic fracturing, to verify contractor compliance with recognized industry best practices. If necessary, any corrective actions are taken and verification visits are conducted. In this way, we ensure that our operations are safely and responsibly conducted by our contractors.
In operating areas and under conditions that may have unique potential hazards or risks, we provide third-party EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) teams on site for the safety of our employees, contractors and surrounding community. Such teams are immediately available to provide services in emergency situations. We also provide onsite firefighting teams during hydraulic fracturing operations.
Stop Work Authority is a program that allows employees to stop work when they discover an imminently dangerous condition or other serious hazard to health, safety or the environment. All Cabot employees and contractors have the authority and obligation to stop any task or operation where concerns or questions regarding hazards to health, safety or the environment may exist. Once an SWA is in effect, work cannot resume until all stop work issues and concerns have been adequately addressed. Any form of retribution or intimidation directed at any individual or company for exercising their authority as outlined in this program is not tolerated.
All contractors chosen to work for Cabot are required to submit to the ISNetworld contractor verification program. ISNetworld helps to ensure that approved contractors have gone through the Review and Verification Services (RAVS), which is an industry-leading safety conformance verification process, and enables us to choose contractors based on their safety performance in relation to their peers. Our ongoing contractor safety program includes:
- Participation by our contractors in quarterly safety meetings;
- Tracking of all contractor S&E incidents and collaboration with the contractor towards the elimination of future incidents on Cabot locations; and
- Collaboration between contractors by sharing best practices at quarterly safety meetings in order to improve the overall safety and environmental records of all our operations.
Prior to drilling each well, we conduct pre-drill site assessments (PSAs) in order to ensure that our operations have the least impact on the environment. Such PSAs may include, depending on state and local laws and regulations and the characteristics of the location, the following:
- Wetland determination;
- Survey for threatened/endangered species;
- Historic sites screening;
- Historic aerial photography review;
- Federal and state database review to identify facilities in the area that could present an environmental concern; and
- Water supply survey and sampling.
We devote substantial time and resources to minimizing the impact of our operations on the land and communities where we operate. By using cutting-edge technology, such as three-dimensional seismic mapping and horizontal drilling, we are able to drill for natural gas with an accurate depiction of the targeted geological formations below. This allows exploration teams to identify natural gas prospects and space wells more efficiently and effectively. This increased efficiency also reduces the number of dry holes drilled, reduces drilling costs, and cuts exploration time. In addition to the strategic use of seismic data, geographical and topographical aspects of each site are carefully evaluated to determine the best place to locate a well. To further minimize surface impairment, many pads are designed for multiple wells to reduce the number of pads required for optimal land use. Another benefit to multiple well pad sites is the reduction in road traffic due to less frequent drilling rig mobilizations.
In addition to the steps taken to minimize our surface footprint, we also take many additional steps to minimize surface impact due to erosion and sediment issues. Some of the measures we use in many of our operating areas are:
- Installing site specific “best management practice” controls;
- Erosion controls to prevent storm water pollution;
- Measures to control storm water flowing onto and through the project;
- Sediment controls to provide a second line of defense to properly designed and installed erosion controls;
- Measures to retain sediment on-site to prevent soil runoff;
- Temporary seeding to aid in controlling erosion; and
- Proper design, alignment and building of lease roads to avoid sensitive areas.
As soon as feasible after the completion of drilling and hydraulic fracturing activities, we work to restore the well site pad to the minimal size necessary for ongoing production operations. In many cases, efforts are made to obtain a baseline survey of the surrounding area in order to return the property to its original condition, contour, and drainage. During the interim reclamation process when moving from drilling operations to production operations, steps are taken to use the original stockpiled topsoil and to fertilize and plant the graded areas with noninvasive seeding, as recommended by the various federal and state agencies with reclamation oversight. As the re-vegetated area returns to its original condition during the interim reclamation step, we are able to substantially reduce the well site pad footprint and increase the visual aesthetics of the entire area.
- American Exploration and Production Council (AXPC)
- Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA)
- American Petroleum Institute (API)
- Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC)
- Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO)
- Texas Oil & Gas Association (TXOGA)
- West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association (WVONGA)
- Appalachian Shale Recommend Practices Group (ASRPG)
- Gulf Coast Safety & Training Group (GCSTG)
- Gulf Coast Regulatory & Environmental Affairs Group (GCREAG)
- American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE)
- National Safety Council (NSC)
- Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE)