We subscribe to the precautionary principle established in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development in 1992 and promote sustainable development through our operations.
Our corporate headquarters are certified to ISO 14001 Environmental Management System, ensuring that the systems and processes which we apply to our business are consistently maintained. We aim to comply with all environmental laws and regulations in all the countries in which we operate.
As an oil and gas company, our major impacts are the greenhouse gas emissions we emit that contribute to global warming and the direct impact in our areas of operations. We regularly disclose our actions and performance in these areas. Additionally, we aim to minimise our impacts relating to water and waste as well as any unplanned releases or spills to the environment.
In 2018, we undertook a series of benchmarking exercises to assess and review our position regarding climate change in line with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework. The results of this analysis were discussed with the Executive Team, and in 2019, we put in place plans to improve our operational performance and transparency regarding climate resilience. The plans included operational reviews of the sources of emissions and opportunities for reduction in our Ghana operations.
Tullow recognises that climate change and the decarbonisation of the global economy represent fundamental strategic risks to our business. We are therefore proactively taking action to mitigate these risks by:
- Complying with emerging climate change legislation and regulation and reducing our GHG emissions as far as is reasonably practical;
- Minimising the GHG emissions potential of our activities and implementing reduction initiatives;
- Adopting a business strategy that is responsive to applicable regulatory developments designed to address climate change, and;
- Maintaining transparency and openness in our engagement about climate change.
Our Executive Chair, Dorothy Thompson, is currently designated as the owner of climate-related risk. The Board of Directors approves and authorises Tullow’s carbon management and performance including targets for emissions reductions and receives updates relating to host governments’ energy transition and climate resilience plans as well as requests for support for private sector initiatives in those countries.
Tullow’s Scope 1 emissions in 2019 totalled 1.26 million tonnes of CO₂e (2018: 1.22 million tonnes) a 3.2 percent increase, mainly due to drilling campaigns with the Stena Forth and Maersk Venturer rig and also due to seismic and exploration activity in Guyana and the Comoros, and the Early Oil Pilot Scheme in Kenya. Despite this increase we realised a 3.6 percent reduction in emissions intensity relative to production, from 139 tonnes (2018) to 134 tonnes (2019) of CO₂e per 1,000 tonnes of hydrocarbon produced.
The vast majority of Tullow's Scope 1 emissions are from our operated assets in Ghana, from the FPSOs and the rigs. In 2019 flaring accounted for 33 percent of Tullow’s Scope 1 emissions. Tullow’s ability to reduce emissions from flaring from our operated assets is dependent on the capacity for long term and sustained high gas export from Jubilee. Exporting the gas is also critical to maximising production and preventing loss of reserves.
Notwithstanding Tullow’s commitment to gift the Government of Ghana 200bcf of foundation gas, the export of gas over the life of the field has historically not been possible due to the Ghana National Gas Corporation gas facility at Atuabo only starting in 2014, four years after production began in 2010. As a responsible operator, Tullow has reinjected more gas into the reservoir than originally intended in the Development Plan, instead of additional flaring.
In order to protect both reserves and maintain reasonable production levels, a request in early 2020 was submitted to the Government of Ghana to both increase Ghana National Gas Corporation’s gas offtake from Jubilee to 125mmscf/d, and to flare additional volumes of gas at Jubilee and TEN. The Government of Ghana’s capacity to handle gas export from Jubilee and TEN will therefore be the key determinate in Tullow’s requirement to flare additional volumes of gas in 2020.
Tullow supports the Paris Agreement, which requires global carbon emissions to peak as soon as possible and then to decline to reach net zero in the next 30–50 years. In 2020, Tullow will begin investigating both short and long-term options to help begin reducing our emissions.
Some of these initiatives include:
- Investigating implementation of methane surveillance equipment and the reduction of methane leaks as part of the Integrated Asset integrity programme;
- Working with the Ghana Government and Ghana National Gas Corporation to deliver on their commitment for increased gas offtake;
- Exploring pathways for more significant emissions reductions over the next five year period.
Tullow continues to meet its commitment to avoid undertaking operations in World Heritage Sites (WHS), and to carry out robust screening of potential new projects against Protected Area Guidelines. During 2019, our Kenya and Ghana operations continued to be assessed by independent monitoring groups and again demonstrated adherence to the International Finance Corporation (IFC)
In 2019, in response to a recommendation from our monitors, we established an independent Biodiversity Advisory Panel to review our activities and manage our biodiversity impacts in Kenya in line with the requirements and intent of IFC Performance Standards. Our Kenyan Joint Venture operations in Turkana overlap with two natural WHS, Lake Turkana National Park and the Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley, and a number of other designated protected areas and key biodiversity areas, although we have not explored for oil in these WHS. The Biodiversity Advisory Panel is comprised of seven technical specialists, selected for their knowledge of biodiversity issues relevant to Kenya, and met twice in 2019.
Actions agreed by the Biodiversity Panel include:
- Ensuring that management plans, procedures and mitigation measures are able to respond to changing information, such as from the IUCN, and maintaining site specific assessments to ensure impacts to sensitive habitats are managed in accordance with mitigation hierarchy;
Mitigation of impacts
- Coordinating with county government, local communities and National Environment Management Authority of Kenya (NEMA) to agree on options to rehabilitate sites to allow natural plant succession; and
Integration of livelihoods management with biodiversity assessment
- Integrating project activities with those of the Turkana County Integrated Development Plan, including providing biodiversity information in local language (e.g. Swahili) and exploring the option of growing indigenous grasses in fodder crop irrigation farming for seed production for reseeding grazing land for pasture improvement.
We make every effort to minimize the environmental impacts of our water usage and waste generated by our operations. Our water consumption increased marginally in 2019, due to sea water consumption on Jubilee and TEN for production activities. More than 99 percent of water used in our operations being seawater. We use small amounts of metered water from local water grids, and we withdraw zero fresh water.
Regarding waste, in 2019, we generated 80,475 tonnes of waste of which 97 percent was non-hazardous. We make every effort to reuse or recycle waste, and in 2019, 27 percent of waste was reused, recycled or treated.