Environmental Data Quality and Assurance
The accuracy of the information reflected in our report is very important to us. We use a triennial process for third-party limited assurance for selected metrics, including energy use, flaring, water use and safety. We conduct annual assurance for our scope 1, scope 2 and scope 3 GHG emissions to ensure we meet all applicable government reporting requirements as well as internal requirements. The 2019 verification and assurance process consisted of independent third-party limited assurance of scope 1, scope 2 and scope 3 GHG emissions as well as selected environmental and safety metrics including energy use, flaring, water use, criteria air pollutants and liquid hydrocarbon spills.
We have several practices in place to provide the best available data at the time of publication including:
- Guidelines, calculation tools and training. We maintain reporting procedures for our business units around the world to calculate and report environmental incidents, releases and emissions. Business units are accountable for data completeness and accuracy, and for consistency with our accepted reporting practices.
- Internal reviews. A business-level data submission, review and approval process is practiced annually to promote accountability for the results and to ensure the best possible data quality.
- Assurance. We conduct reasonable and limited assurance in countries having a regulatory requirement to verify reported emissions, including Australia, Canada and Norway.
- Internal corporate audits. The corporate HSE function reviews HSE data for completeness and accuracy.
Our internal quality assurance process begins at the business unit level. This process includes:
- Ensuring that business units understand the corporate reporting obligations associated with safety, health and environmental metrics.
- Establishing standardized methods of data collection and expected reporting procedures.
- Verifying that the data provided by business units is accurate and complete.
- Reviewing and questioning the results.
- Assessing results to identify trends and better understand the drivers of year-over-year changes.
There are three phases of data verification at this level — during submission, review and approval. Before the data is sent from the business unit to the corporate level, it undergoes vetting by technical peers and leaders who challenge any findings that they find questionable. When the final business unit data is submitted to the corporate level, it contains an explanation for all variances greater than 10% from the prior year. Reasons for significant variances may include startups or dispositions. At the corporate level, data submitted for each asset is further reviewed and challenged by a team of subject matter experts utilizing a data quality checklist.
Once all business unit data is compiled at our corporate level, it undergoes further verification by subject matter experts. During this effort, an intensity analysis is conducted to measure total volumes and production throughput and year-over-year data changes to help identify any inconsistencies. The data is also compared to similar operations during this process. The information is then analyzed in aggregate by metric to understand the significant drivers behind any year-over-year change in company values. After this process, the data is presented to company leaders who have an opportunity to review and challenge the information, possibly spurring additional verification. Final data undergoes executive-level approval prior to publishing.
To honor our commitment to continuously improve the quality of our environmental metrics data, we work with business units to review our reporting processes and facilitate consistent and accurate reporting. As part of that internal assurance process, in 2019 the corporate environmental assurance group collaborated with one of the business units to conduct an internal detailed review of emissions inputs and accounting practices for the business unit operations. As a result of the review, we updated our previously reported air emissions, greenhouse gas emissions, combustion energy and flaring volume metrics for 2016, 2017 and 2018. The company totals for these metrics have been revised and restated in this report. See more of our data metrics.