Protecting our employees, communities and the environment is foundational to our core value of respect. We honor this value by working to prevent spills every day through operational best management practices, trained and experienced employees and facility design.
We also incentivize spill prevention behavior by including a net spill intensity in our compensation program — driving accountability across all employee levels. We calculate our net spill intensity by taking the ratio of liquids spilled outside of secondary containment (and not recovered) to total liquids produced, allowing for a more accurate year-over-year comparison.
In 2022, we handled more than 136 million barrels of liquids, including fresh water, produced water and oil, and contained more than 99.99% of these liquids.
In 2022, our net spill intensity was 0.004. We reduced this rate by more than 50% YOY in part due to aggressive spill reporting, response and recovery processes in our Eagle Ford asset.
Spill Prevention Programs
Employees from our HSER and operations teams collect and analyze spill data, identify spill causes and collaborate to implement operational design improvements to prevent spills. Our prevention efforts focus on several primary spill causes, including human error when transferring liquids, weather, corrosion and equipment failure. To safeguard our operations, we implement a number of proactive prevention programs.
Over time, environmental conditions and produced water can corrode steel equipment, particularly tanks, valves, pipes and gathering lines. Our company-design standard requires new steel storage tanks to be internally coated to resist corrosion and built according to API standards.
We typically use sacrificial anodes to protect our metal equipment or structures from corroding. These anodes work by oxidizing more quickly than the metal it protects and are consumed completely before the other metal reacts with the electrolytes. Chesapeake also utilizes cathodic protection, which operates similarly to sacrificial anodes, to protect buried equipment including flow lines and pipelines.
In addition to internal protection, steel tanks are externally coated with a protective primer and paint layer and placed on gravel rings or other elevated bases to limit corrosion from standing rain or surface water. Ultrasonic testing helps to measure wall loss on equipment so it can be repaired or retired when appropriate.
In certain areas with more corrosive fluids, we utilize non-metallic piping and fiberglass tanks (instead of carbon steel) for durability.
On all Chesapeake constructed facilities, impervious (secondary) containment is required around storage tanks to capture any fluid that could escape primary containment. Secondary containment consists of steel walls layered with a polyurea coating or other acceptable materials designed to last the lifetime of the facility.
Early detection of corrosion is key to mitigating risk. Our operational staff receives training on how to identify corrosion as part of their routine field equipment inspections and maintenance. Production lines, vessels and tanks are regularly monitored through a corrosion chemical management program.
Our tank fluid-level sensors alert employees if tank levels change unexpectedly, indicating the potential for a leak. If an instance should occur, we either repair the corroded area or replace the equipment. As an additional precaution, our Operations team conducts reviews of near miss incidents to identify causal factors and any necessary mitigations.
If a spill occurs, we’re prepared to respond efficiently with a comprehensive, cross-functional team of operational experts.
- Secures site
- Determines resources needed
- Initiates containment measures to control the spill
- Initiates emergency response plan tailored to the severity level
- Establishes an incident command system
- Engages with outside responders as needed
- Notifies the appropriate parties, including regulatory agencies and landowners
- Develops a spill delineation plan
- Implements a remediation plan
- Requests regulatory closure
In the Marcellus, we use double-walled fiberglass tanks for produced water storage. Unlike steel, fiberglass is naturally impervious to corrosion and the double-wall design eliminates the need for secondary containment. The Appalachia area receives significant precipitation that can gather in secondary containment and cause external corrosion or wear if not properly monitored. Chesapeake installs a water monitor in the interstitial area between the walls to further ensure tank integrity.