Biodiversity is the variation in living things in different regions on Earth, including the ecosystems and ecological processes that support them. Maintaining global biodiversity is a prominent and widespread public issue.
Chevron recognizes the importance of protecting and conserving a region’s biodiversity, and we have a long history of collaborating with communities, industry groups, regulators and conservation groups to identify and protect biodiversity in parts of the world where we operate. We also work to protect biodiversity through our operating practices and innovative solutions. This includes investing in scientific research and development to improve data quality and identify new technologies to manage biodiversity.
Protecting the safety and health of people and the environment is a Chevron core value. Therefore, we:
- strive to design our facilities and conduct our operations to avoid adverse impacts to human health and to operate in an environmentally sound, reliable and efficient manner.
- conduct our operations responsibly in all areas, which includes environments with sensitive biological characteristics.
employee spotlightlee higgins
senior HSE specialist, mid-continent business unit
For the past four years, my team and I have provided environmental support for the Mid-Continent business unit, working with multiple cross-functional development teams in Texas and New Mexico. For these projects, we’ve utilized Chevron’s Protective by Design concept to inform our decision making when developing new sites.
For example, in the East Texas Deadwood Development Area, we use field surveys and Geographic Information System data to plan flowlines and well pad locations that reduce potential impacts within the development area and to plan construction schedules to reduce vegetation removal during the nesting season that potentially could impact migratory birds.
The Delaware Ranch Development Area in Texas straddles the Delaware River and is identified as potential habitat for the protected Texas hornshell mussel. The project team selected a plan to separate operations on either side of the river that avoids impacting the mussel’s potential habitat. When planning development for the Dagger Lake Development Area in New Mexico, we strategically selected well pad locations that would avoid disturbing a designated habitat area for the lesser prairie chicken while still being able to access oil and natural gas utilizing horizontal drilling. We are also placing perching deterrents on taller facilities near the habitat area to ward off predators of the lesser prairie chicken.
I feel fortunate to work for a company that is proactive and places a high value on incorporating environmental considerations into our construction and operations. Establishing Chevron’s approach up front enables further implementation of our Protective by Design concept.
We strive to avoid and reduce significant impacts our projects and operations may have on sensitive species, habitats and ecosystems. This means that we:
- integrate biodiversity into our business decision-making and management through our Operational Excellence Management System (OEMS).
- our Environment Risk Management Process (ERMP), under our Operational Excellence Management System, is designed to operationalize a risk-based approach to identify, assess and manage potential risks to the environment across the lifecycle of our assets, including those related to biodiversity.
- understand that humans and the natural environment interact with each other in various ways. We consider those interrelationships and the functions that ecosystems perform in supporting sustainable economic development.
- recognize that our activities could affect sensitive and valuable biodiversity inside and outside legally designated protected areas. Therefore, we:
- decide whether and how to operate in a protected or sensitive area, based on consideration of the specific circumstances of the area and operation involved.
- operate in such areas with government legal authorization when required and where we are confident we can comply with all regulatory requirements and use operating practices appropriately protective of the area.
- use our OEMS processes to avoid or reduce potential risks of our operations to sensitive biological resources and seek ways to make positive contributions to biodiversity conservation in the area.
As a member of the Influence of Structures In The Ecosystem (INSITE) program, Chevron has contributed to building a legacy of scientific investigation into the potential influence of marine structures on the ecosystem. INSITE is a public/private partnership with the U.K. government, academia and industry that leads research projects and a Ph.D. scholarship program. The objective is to provide stakeholders with independent science-based studies to better understand the influence of man-made structures on the ecosystem of the North Sea.
communication and engagement
We undertake activities to raise internal and external awareness of the importance of conserving biodiversity and ways the company is addressing it. These include:
- communicating about our biodiversity-related activities to employees and outside audiences, for example, through our Corporate Sustainability Report.
- engaging with government, local communities and others to understand and work to address significant biodiversity issues in areas where we operate.
- participating in industry associations and other forums to share and promote best practices for biodiversity conservation.
- seeking to understand and, where appropriate, participating in development of external policy-making activities that affect our operations, such as those adopted under the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity and national, regional and local biodiversity policies and plans.
- working with a variety of external organizations to make positive contributions to biodiversity conservation globally and in areas where we operate.
innovative solutions to protect biodiversity
We invest in scientific research and develop and implement new technologies to manage biodiversity on and surrounding our assets.
achieving operational goals while protecting the environment
Approximately 30,000 turtle hatchlings emerge from their Thevenard Island (TVI) nests during Australia’s summer months, December through March, and traverse the beach to the ocean. The 2018 migration coincided with the TVI Onshore Plug and Abandonment Project, which involved decommissioning 15 onshore wells after the TVI oil fields and production facility reached the end of their economic life.
Three species of sea turtle inhabit the waters surrounding TVI, and all of them are sensitive to light. Several Australasian business unit (ABU) teams working together identified that the 24-hour well decommissioning cycle could pose a risk to the turtle behavior, as the lights associated with the rig could distract hatchlings from their seaward journey. The project worked to develop a strategy to accommodate the project execution and the protection of the turtles.
To protect the turtles while adhering to the administrative schedule, the ABU partnered with the regulators and fauna handlers to implement risk mitigation strategies. Turtle fences were installed around well pads, regular lighting assessments to assess the efficacy of lighting controls were conducted, hatchling movements were monitored and temporary rig shutdowns occurred during high-risk periods to protect the turtles.
This quick response to the needs of the environment reduced risks to both the project and the turtles.
Chevron's management of the oil field on Barrow Island, off the northwest coast of Australia, is recognized as an industry benchmark for the coexistence of petroleum development and biodiversity protection. Since operations began in 1964, Chevron has implemented measures designed to prevent the introduction of invasive mammal species and the spread of weeds on this Class A nature reserve.
protecting marine life in the caspian sea
Ghost nets are lost, abandoned or discarded fishing nets that can be deadly to marine life. Our Tengizchevroil (TCO) joint venture identified removal of floating ghost net debris from the Caspian Sea as a key initiative in its biodiversity action plan. The 2017 debris removal pilot achieved impressive results, and due to its success, TCO collaborated with the government of Kazakhstan and two nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to expand the program. As a result of these partnerships, 2,856 kilograms in nets and 6,496 kg in debris were collected in less than three weeks, in 2019. Debris identified as suitable was recycled by incorporating it into cement and asphalt mixtures for road and pavement repair. Debris not suitable for recycling was disposed of by a licensed third-party waste contractor. TCO will continue working to increase awareness of the harm that ghost nets can do and encourage operators in the Caspian Sea to develop their own programs to protect marine life.
Chevron supports the Lekki Conservation Center in Lagos, Nigeria, as part of our effort to preserve nature wherever we operate. Located across the street from Chevron’s Lagos offices, this urban nature preserve is the only one of its kind on the Lekki Peninsula. Its 193 acres (78 hectares) of swampland and savannah are home to monkeys, reptiles and birds.
chevron protects biodiversity
Chevron has instituted a strict quarantine management system to protect biodiversity on Barrow Island. In addition to being a Class A nature preserve, the island off Western Australia is also home to Chevron’s massive Gorgon natural gas development project.
Wild Files is an infographic story series that spans the world to cover interesting examples of how we deliver on our commitment to environmental stewardship.