Protecting the environment requires proper implementation and execution of our development plans. Denbury addresses wildlife protection, soil quality, plant species and other natural resources as a part of our development, reclamation and remediation efforts.
Denbury is subject to a variety of federal, state and local Health, Safety and Environmental (“HSE”) laws and regulations. We strive to fully comply with all regulatory requirements and to minimize our operational “footprint” on the environment. Because we typically acquire mature properties, we are often faced with the challenge of correcting existing adverse environmental issues, in addition to minimizing future impacts. To ensure compliance with regulations, as well as company policies and procedures, audits are regularly conducted to identify matters that require corrective action.
We take great effort to minimize impacts to the environment. When constructing new projects, the following mitigation sequence is followed: Avoid, Minimize, Restore, Compensate. This process starts in the very early stages of planning a project with site selection, routing and mitigation included as integral parts of the analysis for any project.
Denbury has a restoration program to remove out-of-service facilities in our newly acquired fields to reduce the overall footprint of our operations. In fields in which we are commencing carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery (“CO2 EOR”) operations, facilities and sites that are no longer needed are systematically targeted for removal and restoration. Although the removal of these facilities can be costly, removal of obsolete facilities and restoration of these fields reflects our commitment to environmental stewardship.
Older, depleted U.S. oil fields that we acquire often suffer from mechanical or environmental conditions that we remedy as our CO2 EOR operations commence. Denbury’s program to rejuvenate these fields and increase oil production from mature oil fields begins by initiating a comprehensive environmental assessment and remediation plan that addresses environmental issues, equips the field with updated technology and results in a more environmentally benign operation that is cleaner and “greener” than what existed prior to our work. As a rule, we review and address all areas of state-mandated regulatory compliance.
These actions, taken together, ensure identification of any age-related problems associated with an older facility, while adding improvements through new equipment and technology to modernize the facility and prepare it for CO2 injection.
Sage Grouse in wintering habitat
Denbury funds sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) and sharp-tailed grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus) surveys annually within areas of eastern Montana and western North Dakota to monitor the bird populations near our operating areas. These studies collect information for monitoring grouse populations and we plan developments in a manner that minimizes impact on these species.
The deployment of oyster shell substrate on the constructed oyster beds
Denbury recently constructed a 7.2 acre oyster reef mitigation site in Galveston Bay, Texas. The reef has been extremely successful. We have demonstrated that the resources impacted by our construction project in 2008 have successfully been replaced and the new reefs have been established.
During a site visit of the data recovery for cultural resources along the Greencore Pipeline, teams identified charcoal staining left behind from prehistoric fire pits.
Denbury recently completed data recovery of cultural artifacts along the route of the Greencore Pipeline in Wyoming. The findings will be summarized in an article to be submitted to the editor of The Wyoming Archaeologist and include appropriate project photographs, illustrations of the site and diagnostic artifacts, along with supporting figures, tables and laboratory results. In addition, the Bureau of Land Management, in cooperation with the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office, will conduct site visits on one of the public land sites in order to promote public education and to raise awareness concerning the region's cultural heritage.
Elk near our Riley Ridge gas processing facility
Denbury is providing financial resources to mitigate any potential direct or indirect impacts to elk from the construction, operation and maintenance of the Riley Ridge gas processing facility in western Wyoming. Mitigation efforts focus on the following three specific objectives as they relate to the facility: elk damage prevention, elk monitoring and research and elk habitat enhancement. These objectives are designed to prevent damage to private property caused by that portion of the Piney Elk Herd near our Riley Ridge facility, determine elk response to the construction and operation of the facility, and to enhance alternative habitats to offset any impact as a result of construction and operation of the facility.
When appropriate, Denbury employs noise control mitigation as a means of reducing the impact of sound “emissions.” Although, in most cases, the noise generated by the drilling rig is confined to the location and is a temporary disturbance, we consider the potential effects our operations may have on adjacent populated areas while adhering to applicable noise regulations.
When appropriate, we employ practical and efficient noise control as dictated by engineered sound studies to reduce the effects, including sound barriers and blankets to reduce the noise originating from drill sites. “Quiet Mode Plans” are sometimes used to reduce the noise at the well site during night hours. The plans may include training, installation of sound barriers and operations scheduling/planning with noise monitoring equipment to determine their effectiveness.
The CO2 Supply and Pipeline Operations Group has installed a remote cathodic protection monitoring system on our pipelines. In order to counteract the electrolytic corrosion reaction on our pipelines, transformer rectifiers are installed that place a voltage onto the pipeline. This system remotely monitors the proper operation of rectifiers by measuring rectifier volts, rectifier amps, pipe-topsoil potential and alternating current mains detection. The data from the system is continually monitored and also stored for regulatory compliance verification.
In 1998, the U.S. Green Building Council established and launched the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (“LEED”) Pilot Project Program. This program created a rating system to help define and measure “green” buildings. Ratings are based on credits achieved, with a set number of points attached to each credit. These credits are broken down into different categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, Innovation in Design and Regional Priority.
When Denbury was in the early stages of designing our corporate headquarters, our commitment to sustainability was evidenced by making LEED certification a top priority. The design-build team preparing our headquarters space knew that green building practices reduce negative impacts on the environment and also reduce operating costs and increase workers’ productivity. Denbury was proud to receive this certification for our headquarters.