Controlling and reducing emissions is of vital importance to our environment and our business. The more efficient and effective our operations, the better our environmental performance, risk management, regulatory compliance and shareholder returns.
Air emissions performance management
Devon’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Steering Committee reviews our air emissions performance and programs in the context of an evolving regulatory, legal and stakeholder landscape. Current and emerging issues are communicated to Devon’s senior leaders to inform their deliberations about managing risk and ensuring compliance with regulations and laws.
Devon’s environmental management program in the U.S. includes an air quality protocol that clearly defines responsibilities and requirements for communications, compliance, record keeping and training. In Canada, our Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Management System is designed to manage and minimize environmental risks and liabilities.
Compliance with all applicable federal and state environmental laws and regulations is one of the guiding principles in Devon’s EHS Philosophy. We have an environmental compliance process to ensure our employees meet the requirements of Devon’s air permits in our operating areas. Our data management team created an innovative web-enabled database that summarizes requirements for new and modified air permits. Linked to our enterprise data system, it quickly distributes information to the people directly responsible for complying with various aspects of air permit requirements.
Limiting VOCs and NOx emissions
Devon facilities and equipment that may emit gases known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or nitrogen oxides (NOx) are subject to state permits or emissions-authorization limits. Requirements are clearly communicated to operating facilities to ensure we maintain compliance with the relevant permits or limits. Some Devon facilities are subject to annual emissions inventories, which we submit to the appropriate regulatory agencies. In states that require these inventories, the information is publicly available.
2017 air emissions methodologies and performance
In Canada, we are involved in and fund a number of initiatives designed to address regional impacts associated with oil sands development, including regional air monitoring. Devon, along with other industry members, contributes to the funding of air-monitoring stations in the communities of Conklin and Janvier, near our Jackfish operations.
We’re improving our air emissions performance companywide in a variety of ways. By visiting sites and using infrared camera technology, we continue to learn and incorporate best practices in facility design, equipment improvements and maintenance to further reduce emissions from our facilities.
We have taken major steps to reduce emissions at existing facilities by identifying and fixing leaks, and in 2017 expanded our leak detection and repair program to include valves, pumps and other equipment. These ongoing efforts have largely resolved the highest-risk issues, enabling us to reduce our emissions intensity over time.
Devon continuously evaluates new technologies to improve environmental performance. One of the novel technologies we’re using to reduce emissions is fuel cells, which provide an alternate electric energy power supply at some remote locations in the Jackfish project area. They’re paired with existing solar technology to provide power to our observation wells, replacing the use of diesel-powered generators.