stewarding responsible water management
we conserve and protect water resources using a risk-based approach
Chevron recognizes the value of water as a fundamental societal, environmental and economic resource. As a global company, we know that access to water is essential for the communities where we operate and for our business. To produce energy around the world, we rely on access to sufficient sources of water, including both fresh water and water of lower quality.
To promote responsible management of water resources, we:
- Integrate water conservation and efficiency drivers into our decision-making processes.
- Strive to conserve, reuse and recycle water in water-constrained areas.
- Account for the use of water with appropriate metrics.
- Engage with governments, partners, local communities and other stakeholders on significant water resource issues in areas where we operate.
- Build partnerships and participate in industry water resource initiatives to share and promote best practices, assist with the development of industry standards and shape relevant policy.
managing water use responsibly
In 2021, Chevron used the World Resources Institute (WRI) Aqueduct tool to map our operated assets in water-stressed areas as defined by the WRI. Six out of 15 Upstream assets are in areas of high or extremely high water stress, and one out of five refineries and one Oronite facility are also in areas of high or extremely high water stress. Our assets do not share the same physical attributes and would not be impacted in the same way across our portfolio. In 2021, out of the total amount of fresh water withdrawn by Chevron, 19% was extracted in areas classified by the WRI as having high or extremely high water stress.
Our Canada business unit invested in freshwater storage and pipeline infrastructure in Kaybob Duvernay, Alberta, to reduce our operational footprint and reliance on river water during low-flow periods in summer and winter.
water management: management systems, processes and standards
The expectations in our updated Operational Excellence Management System (OEMS) call for our organizations to conserve and protect water resources using a risk-based approach that addresses potential acute and cumulative impacts across the life of our assets. Organizations monitor and analyze performance to verify that the safeguards designed to conserve and protect water in water-constrained areas are in place.
Our Environmental Stewardship (ES) process, our Environment Risk Management Process (ERMP) process, and our Upstream-specific Natural Resources Environmental Performance Standard (EPS) are three examples of how the water-related expectations of our OEMS are executed.
The ES process directs our businesses to create an inventory of how their activities interact with the environment. These environmental aspects, including use of water, and their related potential impacts are then used to identify, assess and prioritize environmental risk and improvement opportunities.
Our Natural Resources EPS is applied across our onshore Upstream business and capital projects and calls for a water resources screening assessment. The water resources screening assessment evaluates and helps us manage the following risks that may be associated with our water use:
- Water availability
- Competition for water resources
- Impact of water withdrawal on source water quality or quantity
- Sociopolitical risks
- Regulatory restrictions
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 annually report performance data on the common reporting elements specified in the 2015 IPIECA/API/IOGP Oil and gas industry guidance on voluntary sustainability reporting.
percent of total fresh water withdrawn in stressed vs. non-stressed areas
|water non-stressed areas||81||81|
managing water use in hydraulic fracturing
Chevron strives to minimize the amount of fresh water used in our hydraulic fracturing operations.
Using alternate sources of water in the Permian
Our Surface Water Use philosophy provides that, whenever possible, our Mid-Continent business unit’s (MCBU) goal is to use brackish water resources and recycled produced water instead of fresh water.
In 2021, our water demand in the Permian Basin was satisfied using with 99% brackish or recycled sources, which included utilizing no fresh water for hydraulic fracturing.
In addition, our MCBU participated in the New Mexico Produced Water Research Consortium to explore long-term alternatives to beneficially reuse produced water beyond what the operation requires for business needs.
As part of effort, we participated in the consortium’s pilot program to identify potential produced-water treatment technologies that will guide the state’s future actions regarding beneficial reuse.
water recycling at our refineries
In 2021, Chevron joined the Global Water Solutions Project of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). We also participated in the Wastewater Zero initiative to determine how the concept and principles might apply in our refinery operations.
Jurong Island, Singapore
Over the past five years, our joint-venture Singapore Refining Company (SRC) has increased the recycling and reuse of its process water. In 2018, Singapore’s national water agency presented SRC with the agency’s inaugural Water Efficiency Award and Watermark Award in the Refining category for efforts in water recycling. SRC’s journey to reducing water use in refining operations began in 2016 with the completion of the Effluent Treatment Recovery Plant (ETRP), the first of its kind in Singapore. Using flat-sheet ceramic membranes and a two-stage reverse osmosis process to remove suspended solids, oil, grease and other contaminants, the ETRP treats water that would otherwise be discharged to the sea. The ETRP increased SRC’s capability to recycle water by up to 50%. Government incentives and technological advances have driven SRC’s recycling initiatives, and greater advances in water recycling are ahead.
We have invested in technologies to reduce our freshwater usage. As a result, our refinery in Richmond, California, has become the largest industrial user of reclaimed water in the San Francisco Bay Area. Together with our partners, we have worked to overcome barriers to reclaimed water use. One such project that contributed to this achievement was the Richmond Advanced Recycled Expansion (RARE), a joint effort with the East Bay Municipal Water District. Through innovation and collaboration, the RARE Water Project facility greatly increased the daily allowable capacity for use of reclaimed water at the refinery, to more than 6 million gallons.
El Segundo, California
The El Segundo refinery is the largest industrial user of reclaimed water in the Los Angeles Basin. Using reclaimed water helps our environment by significantly reducing the treated wastewater discharged to the Santa Monica Bay.
Strong water management practices and innovative use of digital technology have enabled our El Segundo Refinery to increase use of reclaimed water by 8% in three years – from 70% in 2018 to 78% in 2021.
Through recycling efforts, the amount of fresh water that was saved is enough to meet the daily water needs of 80,000 to 90,000 people in the Los Angeles Basin.
In 2020, the refinery began using Plant Information Vision, a digital monitoring dashboard that tracks daily water use in cooling tower systems and alerts operators of optimization opportunities. This helps increase the use of recycled water in operations, thereby decreasing the use of fresh water.
Innovative technology also helped conserve water during a recent tank inspection. Normally, the tank would need to be taken out of service and fully drained of its 1.8 million gallons of recycled water. But by using a robotic system, the refinery was able to complete its inspection without draining the tanks, preventing the waste of a valuable resource while performing a task that is critical to maintaining the integrity of our equipment.
* Water of lower quality could include: seawater, brackish groundwater or surface water, reclaimed wastewater from another municipal or industrial facility, desalinated water; remediated groundwater used for industrial purposes.
** Water that is brought to the surface when extracting oil and gas
*** A Chevron 50 percent-owned joint venture.