More activity, fewer emissions

Last year, Tecpetrol launched its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions reduction strategy. Today, the results are looking good, with further improvement on the way.

Greenhouse gases retain heat in the Earth's atmosphere, raising the surface temperature of the planet and contributing to climate change: therefore, controlling GHG emissions is everyone's business. And if it’s everyone’s business, it’s also in Tecpetrol’s best interests. One of the first actions the company ran was a series of workshops aimed at identifying GHG management initiatives that could be carried out on all operational fronts in Argentina and Colombia, two countries that represent over 80% of our emissions in E&P (Exploration & Production).

In the middle of a workshop to identify initiatives.-

We spoke to Cecilia Carreño, Environmental Manager, and Itatí Soldini, Environmental Lead Supervisor, both from the Neuquén and Vaca Muerta Basin, as well as with Stephen Wharton, Environmental Sr. Manager. “Some 100 people from different sectors were joined by contractors to attend four workshops that we held in Argentina and Colombia. We encouraged the use of design thinking techniques which helped to contribute over 400 ideas, evolving into 98 initiatives that were easy to implement and high impact,” Stephen begins.

The epicenter of the company’s emissions is in Neuquén because of production, which is why this was ground-zero for the launch of the campaign—and the location where, for now, most of the projects are being carried out. The projects include digital venting mitigation, the use of solar panels to provide power for wells, vapor recovery from storage tanks, and reducing emissions due to improvements in efficiency, among others.

Ideas in action.-

Itatí explains that, “In the Neuquén Basin, we’ve been working with several of these initiatives over the past year and have classified them in terms of the impact they have on the GHGs we want to reduce, from the ones with the least effect to the greatest impact. Each initiative has a project leader and a GHG committee which reports to the Vice Presidency of the Neuquén Basin meets monthly. Here they review each project and other aspects such as legal frameworks, benchmarking, and good practices carried out by other operators. We had to get the ball rolling.”

This prompted an internal communications campaign entitled Actions that reduce emissions, which involved mailings, activations, instructions and finally a flipbook to reinforce people’s knowledge. The campaign attracted a lot of attention and enthusiasm abounded from the moment it launched.

Cecilia explains that, “We identified many actions so that our people could begin to understand and use concepts such as the carbon footprint, or know what gases we’re talking about. At Tecpetrol, we’re dealing with people from many different areas so we felt that we had to level people’s knowledge on the subject. Although the team working in the operational area team was probably more familiar with these concepts, we decided to extend it to everyone.”

Participants take a moment to pose for a photo.-

So, what were the results of the reduction strategy? Cecilia was pleasantly surprised with the response: “People not only joined in, but they did so from all kinds of different angles. Everybody’s talking about the issue, and they’re taking it very seriously. They’ve even incorporated the variable of the carbon footprint that will be emitted into their project analyses, as for them, it’s another key factor.”

As Cecilia explains, this is just beginning: “Those were the first steps, and now, we’re going to publish this on our Learning Platform as an e-learning course,” she adds.

“Controlling our GHG emissions is a virtuous circle, and what’s striking is the degree of synergy achieved with other aspects of the operation: it impacts on the optimization of processes, resources, costs, and personnel. We’re seeing a number of benefits in areas that we weren’t expecting to see. Today, although the focus is on technology, it’s amazing how quickly people have adapted in cultural terms,” says Stephen with surprise.

Like everything at Tecpetrol, there are always new projects being born, which will be scaled up to all regions and operations. “Now we’re taking stock. We started benchmarking these initiatives and will perform more specific surveys as these will guide us to identify the kinds of projects we can launch,” conclude the experts.

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