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Hess Sustainability Report: Water Use Rises 27% in One Year

Oil and gas company Hess Corporation’s fresh water use jumped 27 percent last year to 13 million cubic meters, primarily due to higher use in its North Dakota operations and in its gas processing and refining operations, according to the company’s 2011 sustainability report.

Hess exploration and production operations used 9.2 million cubic meters of fresh water in 2011. Of E&P water use, 79 percent was used by the company’s US gas processing plants, 15 percent in hydraulic fracturing, 5 percent for other US drilling and production and 1 percent  for other operations.

Half of the company’s fresh water was used at the Seminole gas processing plant in west Texas.  The fresh water comes from the company’s Permian Basin production operations, where it owns and operates a groundwater well field.

Hess last year reduced its greenhouse gas intensity 14 percent against its 2008 baseline of 50 metric tons per thousand barrels of oil equivalent, according to its sustainability report. The company achieved this by decreasing combined flaring in Algeria and Equatorial Guinea by more than 52 percent since 2009. Hess has set a greenhouse gas intensity reduction target for 2013 that is 20 percent below the company’s 2008 baseline.

But the company’s carbon emissions rose 13 percent to 5.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from 2010 to 2011, primarily due to gas flaring caused by the rapid expansion of its unconventional resources business in North Dakota.

Of the 5.1 million mt generated from operations in 2011, 4.4 million tons were scope 1 emissions from process operations and flaring and 0.7 million tons were scope 2 emissions related to purchased electricity use. Emissions generated from direct transportation including corporate aviation and Hess domestic trucking operations were about 7,000 tons of CO2e.

The company’s climate change goals includes the purchase of both certified renewable energy certificates and carbon offsets. In 2011, Hess purchased 23 percent of net electricity used for company operations from renewable sources, and achieved carbon neutral status for its commercial air travel through offsets.

In 2010 Hess acquired additional acreage in the Bakken region of North Dakota and as a result ramped up drilling activity there. The company is investing more than $1.2 billion in infrastructure, which is expected to be in place by 2013, to monetize gas recovery and reduce gas flaring beginning in 2014.

Hess has hired an independent consultant to create a lifecycle water management plan and evaluate water sourcing and disposal operations as its unconventional fossil fuels operations expands.

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