As good stewards of the land and good neighbors, we work to prevent spills in our operations.
Comprehensive program to stop spills before they happen
In keeping with the pollution prevention principle in our EHS Philosophy, Devon uses appropriate tools and techniques to minimize discharges of oil, produced water and other materials from our equipment and facilities. Spill prevention procedures at our facilities with storage tanks include secondary containment, “nearly full” tank alarms and offsite monitoring equipment with the ability to shut in facilities remotely.
At our produced-water recycling facilities, we have installed temporary storage reservoirs designed to minimize the risk of overflow from rain. The reservoirs are double-lined and sloped to direct any water that penetrates the first liner to a sump pump. Between the two liners is a layer of mesh material with motion-detection that alerts our operators if a liner leaks. Disposal reservoirs are lined, as well.
Our environmental management program includes a comprehensive Spill Prevention Countermeasures and Control (SPCC) protocol to ensure compliance with environmental rules and regulations. The protocol details the responsibilities, equipment, procedures and steps to prevent, control and provide adequate countermeasures to a discharge.
Part of our spill-prevention program is an annual spill-response training exercise and briefing for all personnel involved in designing, building and operating oil handling or storage equipment.
We also make every employee and contractor aware of their responsibility to prevent spills by immediately reporting near misses, such as a storage tank approaching full volume or signs of wear that may result in a leak. We respond to near misses and make repairs as needed to stop any potential spill.
When a spill does occur, we remediate, investigate the cause and take corrective action to prevent recurrence. Our EHS reporting system tracks spills and near misses by total company and business unit, which enables the business units to analyze their spill performance and find ways to improve.
Tracking and reporting spills
Devon has a robust system for reporting and tracking spills. We require reporting of unintentional releases of oil, produced water, chemicals and any other material associated with our operations. Going forward, we’re using a new calculation methodology for our lost-spill rate based on the volumes of produced oil, produced water and recycled water handled in our operations; previously, our calculation methodology included only total barrels produced. We believe that measuring our spill rate based on the total amount of fluids managed in Devon operations gives us a more accurate picture of our performance and allows us to better manage our spill prevention procedures.
In 2018, we lost 0.0011% of the nearly 368 million barrels moved across Devon operations, a 5% improvement from 2017.
At Devon, we hold ourselves accountable for improving our performance by setting an annual corporate target for the lost-spill rate and including it in Devon’s annual performance bonus calculation. In 2018, we saw a year-over-year improvement in lost barrels relative to total U.S. barrels produced, although we were one barrel short of hitting our absolute lost-spill rate target. Using our new calculation methodology, both our lost-spill volumes and lost-spill rate declined in 2018 compared to 2017.
Devon will continue to invest in equipment, train our workforce and track progress to prevent spills and mitigate their impacts.