water

responsible management of a critical resource

Chevron recognizes the value of water as a fundamental social, environmental and economic resource. As a global company, we know that access to adequate supplies of water, both fresh water and water of lower quality, is essential for the communities where we operate as well as for our ability to produce energy around the world. As users of this critical natural resource, we must manage it responsibly.

Chevron strives to use the lowest quantity of fresh water practicable in its operations. We also seek opportunities to reuse water where operational, regulatory and business conditions permit.

freshwater position statement

We communicate our commitment to responsible management of freshwater resources in our Freshwater Position Statement, which states that we strive to do the following:

  • Continually improve environmental performance and reduce impacts from our operations.
  • Integrate freshwater conservation and efficiency drivers into our business decision-making processes and operational management.
  • Conserve our use of fresh water in freshwater-constrained areas by reusing and recycling water and reducing the amount used.
  • Account for the use of fresh water in our operations with appropriate metrics.
  • Engage with governments, partners, local communities and other stakeholders on significant freshwater resource issues in areas where we operate.
  • Build partnerships and participate in industry initiatives to share and promote best practices, assist with the development of industry standards, and shape and influence relevant freshwater resource policy.

water management

Our Environmental Stewardship (ES) Corporate Standard process, our Environmental, Social and Health impact Assessment (ESHIA) Corporate Standard process and our Upstream-specific Natural Resources Environmental Performance Standard (EPS) help us manage our water use across the life of our operated assets.

The ES process requires our businesses to create an inventory of how their activities interact with the environment.  These environmental aspects, including use of water, and their related impacts are then used to identify, assess and prioritize environmental risk and improvement opportunities.

The ESHIA process is used by local project teams early in the life of the project to assess the potential impacts and benefits of our activities on natural resources, including water. An important part of this process is assessing existing environmental and social conditions, such as how local communities are using water. This information is used during project planning to help us consider and address potentially significant water use by our operations in relation to local water availability.

Our Natural Resources EPS is applied across all of our onshore Upstream businesses and capital projects and requires a water resources screening assessment to identify potentially significant environmental and social impacts associated with our water use. Where there is potential for significant impacts, a water resources management plan (WRMP) is developed. The WRMP helps our operations identify and implement measures that reduce water withdrawals when possible.

reporting our performance

We collect data on the amounts of fresh and nonfresh water we withdraw from the environment and the amount of fresh water returned to freshwater sources, which enables us to make informed business decisions around water management. In addition, we are committed to annually reporting performance data on the common reporting elements specified in the 2015 IPIECA/API/IOGP Oil and gas industry guidance on voluntary sustainability reporting. You can track our performance against a number of these metrics here.

success stories

water use in hydraulic fracturing operations

Chevron strives to reduce the amount of fresh water used in our hydraulic fracturing operations.

Using brackish water in the Permian
In the Permian Basin, we use brackish water that is not suitable for human consumption or agricultural usage in lieu of fresh water, when possible. More than 90 percent of the water used in our well completions in the Permian Basin is from brackish water sources.

Collaboration on water management in Argentina 
In the Loma Campana concession in Argentina, our activities required the use and disposal of large volumes of water in 2016. These operations were subject to stringent regulatory requirements around water management. In order to address these challenges, subject matter experts from Chevron’s Energy Technology Center and our Upstream Latin America business unit collaborated with our partner YPF, S.A., who operates the project. Through this work, fit-for-purpose, reliable and cost-effective alternatives were identified to treat and reuse the water that is brought to the surface when extracting oil and gas, in lieu of disposal. These alternatives were designed to meet regulatory requirements and the needs of external stakeholders, while also contributing to sustainable business development.

Reusing brine in the Appalachian region
Our operations in the Appalachian region strive to maximize the reuse of its brine (water that flows back to the surface when the well begins producing natural gas). In 2014 and 2015, we recycled or reused 97 percent of our brine. This is part of an overall strategy to reduce both our freshwater consumption and the need for water transportation, transfer and disposal.

kern county, california

In Kern County, home to Chevron’s largest California oil field, we have partnered with the Cawelo Water District to provide much-needed water for agricultural use. Water is a significant byproduct of the steamflooding technology we use to extract oil from the ground. For every one barrel of oil produced in Kern County, the process generates 10 barrels of water, which is captured, treated and distributed to local farmers.

producing energy and oranges

producing energy and oranges

In Kern County, Chevron's largest California oil field is doing more than just adding to the area's economic stability. Most oil fields produce water as a byproduct, and Chevron, in partnership with Cawelo Water District, is treating and converting its produced water to fresh water for agricultural use.

water recycling at our refineries

Cape Town, South Africa
In Cape Town, South Africa, we partnered with Improchem on a water-recycling project that has reduced the amount of water withdrawn each day by our Cape Town Refinery by approximately 75 percent. This reduction made water available for an additional 6,000 homes in Western Cape province.

Our refinery achieved this reduction by building a reverse osmosis plant that purifies treated wastewater from the Potsdam Wastewater Treatment Works to nearly drinking water quality. This purified water is subsequently reused onsite at our refinery.

Richmond, California
Our refinery in Richmond, California, is the largest user of reclaimed water in the San Francisco Bay Area, where approximately 60 percent of water withdrawn is water that has already been used. One of the projects that contributed to this achievement was the Richmond Advanced Recycled Expansion (RARE), a joint effort with the East Bay Municipal Water District. The RARE Water Project facility doubled the daily allowable capacity for use of certain reclaimed water at the refinery, from 3 million gallons to more than 6 million gallons. Use of reclaimed water from the RARE Water Project facility frees up enough fresh water to supply up to 16,000 homes (46,000 people) on a daily basis.