Environmental protection is a critical priority. We take a precautionary approach, identifying and assessing the potential risks and impacts of our operations, at all stages of a project.
Assessing potential impacts
We recognise that oil and gas exploration, development and production may have an impact on the environment. We seek to understand and minimise any adverse impact without affecting our commitment to safety.
We seek to prevent, minimise or mitigate any adverse impact that we may have, by:
- protecting natural resources and limiting their use;
- minimising emissions, discharges, waste and sound; and
- evaluating and minimising impact on biodiversity.
During each stage of a project, we assess potential impacts, both direct and indirect, in a holistic way. This involves a range of mechanisms, including:
- Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIAs);
- additional studies and a formal assessment for any project where significant potential impacts are identified;
- asset and site-specific Environmental and Social Management Plans that integrate biodiversity; and
- Biodiversity Action Plans where there is a significant risk to, or potential impact on, biodiversity.
2021 key environmental statistics
1,469 tCO2e: Total operated Scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon emissions
14,298 GJ: Total operated energy consumption
39 tonnes: Total operated hazardous and non-hazardous waste
1,132m3: Total operated water consumption (including freshwater and seawater)
Environmental Management in Egypt
Alongside our partner Cheiron, Capricorn completed the purchase of Shell’s Western Desert assets in September 2021. Ahead of this acquisition, due diligence was undertaken based on International Finance Corporation (IFC) Standards and good international industry practice references.
The process concluded that the assets have been managed well, with a focus on integrity, major hazard management, and health and safety. We will work with Cheiron, the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) and other partners to ensure the safety culture established by BADR Petroleum Company (Bapetco) is built upon.
Alongside Cheiron and Bapetco, we undertook a baseline study to assess our GHG emissions impact and identify reduction opportunities. The audit, conducted in late 2021, was the start of our baselining activity for these assets, with a detailed inventory of emissions planned for early 2022. The audit reviewed the accuracy of reporting in the Western Desert operating fields, the protocols used for reporting and any areas of uncertainty that need closing in 2022.
Committed to the World Bank’s Zero Routine Flaring by 2030 initiative, we are working towards eliminating routine flaring from our operations by the end of this decade. Flare-reduction projects are progressing well and additional opportunities have been identified. We are also replacing diesel generators with cleaner-burning gas equipment, and integrating solar power to reduce our reliance on diesel and gas. We will explore other options, including carbon capture and storage and the wider application of renewable power.
Managing water risks effectively is important in the Western Desert, an area of considerable water scarcity. We will focus on using freshwater efficiently and managing water discharge responsibly. This will involve enhanced understanding of water demand; quality and availability of sources; users and stakeholder vulnerabilities; environmental linkages; and discharges or abstractions affecting water resources to inform improvements.
The Proteus Partnership
2021 marked Capricorn’s first full year as a member of the Proteus Partnership, a cross-sector collaboration convened through the United Nations Environment Programme's World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). The Partnership supports companies to manage their impacts on biodiversity and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by providing access to biodiversity data, knowledge and tools, including global data on protected areas, threatened species, and critical marine and coastal ecosystems.
UNEP-WCMC supported the development of a geographic information system (GIS)-based screening tool to improve our data use. Based on the Biodiversity Indicators for Sitebased Impacts (BISI) methodology – developed by UNEPWCMC, Fauna and Flora International, and Conservation International – the tool will help us to rank assets by level of biodiversity exposure. We plan to launch it across our portfolio and report results in 2022.
We continue to develop our biodiversity management capacity and have benefited from Proteus-delivered horizon-scanning webinars, technical forums and briefing notes. We delivered biodiversity awareness training for our HSE, GIS and Exploration Teams, and have scheduled additional training by UNEP-WCMC, with a focus on the development and implementation of no net loss commitments, for 2022.
Environmental Baseline Survey in Mauritania
In 2021, we planned a combined EBS and geophysical and geotechnical site survey of the Dauphin prospect, Block C7, off the coast of Mauritania. The survey commenced in January 2022.
The Dauphin prospect is located in deep water on the edge of the continental shelf and is intersected by subsea canyon systems. Previous surveys identified the presence of cold-water corals and other sensitive seabed-dwelling species. Undertaking an EBS before starting any work will inform future exploration decisions and help to mitigate potential impacts to this ecosystem.
The site lies 25 km from the marine boundary of the Parc National du Banc d’Arguin, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As an important first stage to understanding sensitivities and concerns, we have engaged with key stakeholders including government officials, UNESCO, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as Nature Mauritanie, and local fishing communities.
The EBS in Mauritania will also be the first in which we have used environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis – the genomic study of organisms in the environment – of sediment and water samples. We believe that using eDNA has the potential to be cheaper and faster, and to provide more complete biodiversity data, than conventional methods. It will form a cornerstone of future baseline surveys.
Turtle Conservation Support in Mexico
In 2020, we carried out a Critical Habitat Assessment and a Biodiversity Impact Assessment for Block 9 offshore Mexico. This identified that the project is located within an area assessed to be Critical Habitat for the endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle.
Although our activities were judged to have no impact on the species, we looked to achieve a ‘net gain’ by contributing to the efforts of a local turtle conservation group, Vida Milenaria, based in Tecolutla on the Gulf coast. We donated US$12,000 to fund the purchase of an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and fuel for one year, to support its beach patrols to protect turtle nests and observe hatchings. During the 2021 season, the ATV covered around 6,000 km while patrolling the beaches.
The 2021 nesting season, which ran from March to September, was affected by hydrocarbons appearing on local beaches in April and Hurricane Grace hitting the region in August. Vida Milenaria helped to alert the authorities to the hydrocarbons’ appearance, which occurred during the nesting season, and was heavily involved in the subsequent clean-up efforts. Hurricane Grace made landfall in Tecolutla itself, causing severe damage. Again, the NGO supported the local community in the aftermath, helping to distribute provisions and coordinate donations to ensure they reached those most affected.
Vida Milenaria continued its important conservation work in the face of these difficulties, recording protected nests, protected eggs and hatchlings of the Kemp’s Ridley, green sea and hawksbill turtle species released to the sea. Overall numbers in 2021 were lower than 2020, due to the impact of these unexpected events, but the Kemp’s Ridley turtle fared better than other species, as its nesting season finished before the hurricane struck.
We continue to engage with Vida Milenaria and monitor its important work.
We have invested in the development of greenhouse gas emissions avoidance projects in partnership with Tradewater – a US-based company focused on finding, collecting, and destroying the most potent greenhouse gases, such as chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) refrigerants.
Our investment will help develop identification and collection networks for these gases in developing countries around the world and will yield 250,000 tonnes of high-quality carbon offset credits over the next five years from the destruction of old refrigerants.
Our carbon offset strategy is aligned with the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance (ICROA) and Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) principles and is focused on the acquisition of high-quality carbon credits, verified by Verra or Gold Standard. Carbon credits are not older than 2016 and can be either portfolio or project-based. We will aim to retire the oldest carbon credits first. It is important that carbon offset projects demonstrate strong co-benefits, supporting socioeconomic development, health, protecting water quality or biodiversity. We aim to align our carbon offset strategy with the UNSDG goals and Capricorn’s Code of Ethics.
In addition to our investment with Tradewater, we have also acquired portfolio-based carbon offsets, which include REDD+ (Reduction of Deforestation and Forest Degradation) projects in Guatemala and Cambodia, as well as landfill gas extraction projects in Brazil and Turkey