CAPP’s 2010 Steward of Excellence Awards

April 9, 2010  

As an association representing Canada’s upstream oil, oil sands and natural gas industry, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) is as conscious as any group about the difficulties of maintaining environmental credibility in oil and gas. As Flow explored in “The Great Oil Sands Journey”, oil companies have a complex story to tell in explaining the entire process of extraction and refining. And, in the end, there’s no doubt that the story that’s often told isn’t a positive one.

Broadly, CAPP addresses the issues of safety, environmental responsibility and community relations through its “stewardship” program. Updated annually in its Stewardship Report (2.7MB PDF), its member companies’ progress on initiatives ranging from lower-impact construction to improved safety protocols are highlighted through vital statistics and CAPP’s Steward of Excellence Awards, which began in 2007. Recognizing companies whose programs contributed to CAPP’s threefold mandate for stewardship (health and safety, environment and social), this year’s awards were distributed on March 15 at a dinner held in Calgary at the Westin Hotel.

Across the awards’ four categories, winners included BP, ConocoPhillips, Devon and the Horn River Basin Producers Group.

In the President’s Award category, BP won for reducing the environmental impact of Noel Major Project in North East BC. Through the use of new technologies and improved processes, BP was able to reduce the project’s carbon emissions by 85 per cent, while also reducing its footprint through a smaller number of wells and pipelines. Given the billion-dollar scale of the project, BP’s ability to cite the responsibility of its development is an important public tool.

ConocoPhillips, meanwhile, took the Steward of Excellence Health & Safety Award for its Advanced Safety Auditing (ASA) program. The program, designed to actively reinforce safe behaviours through (literally) exemplary leadership, led to a 61 per cent reduction in the company’s year-over-year Total Recordable Injury rate (TRIR). Just as important as the public face it presents, the health and safety of the oil and natural gas industry’s employees helps tell a story that begins inside the company itself.

For its use of minimal disturbance techniques in constructing access roads, Devon won CAPP’s Steward of Excellence Environment Award. In building roads through forested areas, Devon was able to reduce the size of its transportation corridors by 50 per cent and use the resulting mulch from the removed forest areas to layer the “right of way” (ROW) corridors.

Finally, in the “social” category, the Horn River Basin Producers Group took the award for its collaborative efforts, unifying 11 companies in their pursuit of a safe and responsible development of the titular Horn River Basin. With outreach that included an Oil and Gas Field Operations Training Program at the Fort Nelson campus of Northern Lights College, as well as supporting and participating in the 2008 Horn River Basin Economic Development Symposium, the producer group demonstrated the importance of both internal and external collaboration.

Together, these awards represent some of the actions being taken by CAPP members to improve the story being told about Canadian oil and gas development. Even if the resources they use have to be dug out of the ground, it makes sense not to make the public dig for positive facts about the industry.