Operating in Sensitive Environments
With an increasing number of species considered to be at-risk or threatened, and an increasing number of protected areas established to conserve habitats, evaluation and mitigation of our potential impact on biodiversity is one of our priorities.
Our approach to managing local biodiversity risks includes:
- Reducing our footprint
- Managing and conserving habitats
Our Sustainability Report provides additional case studies and information on current priorities and actions for biodiversity management.
Taking Steps to Reduce Our Footprint
We leverage technology and innovation to reduce our infrastructure footprint. Our projects target footprint reductions for a diverse set of ecosystems ranging from coastal wetlands in Louisiana, American prairies, Canadian boreal forest, Alaskan tundra, Australia’s Coral Sea to Indonesia’s tropical rain forest. We focus on all stages of the life cycle of our assets. For example we are reducing operational footprint through advances in drilling technology; we have been conducting avian studies to protect migratory bird populations; and we accelerate the reclamation process through tree planting.
Our footprint reduction efforts also include implementing biodiversity offsets. In Australia, the Curtis Island offset involved our Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG) facility and other LNG proponents working together to purchase a former grazing property and associated leases. These titles will transfer to the state government, allowing recovery and long-term restoration of fragile marine plain ecosystems on this island located within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Combined with the existing national park, more than 59 percent of the island is actively managed under a conservation management plan, compared to just 2 percent used by LNG projects on the southern tip.
In Canada, we supported the Junction Lake and Bullshead Conservation Areas to offset infrastructure footprint from other operations. We helped fund the land acquisition for the Junction Lake Conservation Area in collaboration with the Alberta Conservation Association. The offset received the first formal "early action recognition for a conservation offset" from the Government of Alberta. The 289-acre area, located near Vegreville in central Alberta, is open to the public for hiking, birdwatching, hunting or berry picking and provides a unique opportunity to view the endangered Piping Plover in the wild.
The Bullshead Conservation Area, located near Cypress Hills in southeastern Alberta, comprises more than 2,050 acres of grasslands, hills and lakes. It was established thanks to a ConocoPhillips Canada donation to Ducks Unlimited. The native grasslands conservation area supports habitat for approximately 80 percent of Alberta’s species at risk. Government offset recognition is pending.
Managing and Conserving Habitats
We develop and implement biodiversity management practices that conserve, protect and restore habitats for wild plants and animals that may be impacted by our operations. Examples include: supporting research efforts to maintain biodiversity and improve the woodland caribou's habitat in the Canadian oil sands region; supporting bird conservation goals cooperatively developed with the United States Fish and Wildlife Services; conserving sage grouse habitats capable of sustaining bird populations; participating in voluntary conservation agreements that protect Lesser Prairie Chicken and the Dune Sagebrush Lizard habitats; working with the Smithsonian Institution on the migratory connectivity of bird species of conservation concern; supporting a marine turtle rehabilitation facility in Australia; and supporting development of a conservation strategy and action plan for the Sumatran tiger.
We have also implemented biodiversity offset programs in western Canada’s native grasslands and Australia’s Curtis Island designed to achieve positive conservation outcomes and to compensate for our infrastructure footprint.
Our offshore assets, including exploration and production facilities and tanker operations, require a different set of priority actions to ensure conservation and protection of marine environments. Those actions range from conducting offshore baseline assessments to supporting research, to increase understanding of the effect of sound on marine life generated by exploration and production activity and to supporting an arctic marine laboratory in Norway.
For our tanker operations, which move Alaskan crude to U.S. west coast refineries, we are certified under the Washington Department of Ecology's Exceptional Compliance Program (ECOPRO).