Responsible management of our environmental footprint is a key component of our drive for operational excellence.
We maintain spill preparedness and response plans and conduct emergency response exercises at each of our assets. We also dedicate significant staff and resources to help ensure compliance with environmental laws and regulations, international standards and voluntary commitments.
Well Integrity in Shale Operations
While hydraulic fracturing processes occur several thousand feet below the Earth’s surface, wellbores pass through groundwater bearing zones at shallower depths. Therefore before designing or constructing any well, we investigate the depth and lateral extent of any underground fresh water so that the well can be drilled and completed in a way that protects groundwater resources and conforms to regulatory requirements and internal Hess standards.
Certain U.S. state agencies require operators to design casing and cementing plans that will isolate any underground fresh water from the contents of the wellbore. We submit this information in applications for well construction permits, which must be reviewed and approved by regulators.
To help ensure well integrity, our current process for new wells is to line wellbores with multiple layers of steel pipe encased in cement to depths well below the deepest freshwater zones. Specifically:
- A surface casing is installed from the surface to below the lowest known freshwater zone and then cemented in that interval from the deepest point to isolate the freshwater zone, thereby creating a physical barrier between the materials in the well and the strata containing the groundwater being protected.
- Inside the surface casing, another casing is installed and cemented in place and an acoustic cement bond log is employed to confirm that the cement barrier meets regulatory requirements.
- The well completion is performed through a final casing or liner placed inside the production or intermediate casing to the depth of the lateral. A “frac string” is then run and connected to the top of the liner. This provides an additional physical barrier to isolate fluids within the well.
Hess Water Use Management
Water is vital for our onshore exploration and production operations, primarily for cooling and hydraulic fracturing. At our new developments and operations, water use may be impacted or restricted due to local limitations on water supply and disposal options.
We recognize public concern about our industry’s use of water, and we are committed to evaluating our water footprint. As such, we identified water management as a material issue and critical element of our environment, health, safety and social responsibility (EHS & SR) strategy.
We are developing a risk-based, life cycle approach to manage water from sourcing through disposal. We also plan to pursue objectives relating to water data enhancement, water risk assessment and risk-based evaluation of asset-level water management opportunities.