Environmental stewardship of the planet’s water resources includes two key focus areas for Vermilion: protection of water bodies, including oceans, lakes and rivers; and increasing our water efficiency. We support this using key performance indicators on water use in the Performance Metrics section of this report. This includes water withdrawal by source, and percentage and volume of water recycled and reused.
None of our operations take place in areas that are considered water stressed. However, we take seriously our responsibility to protect the water bodies close to our operations, whether they are on the Bordeaux coastline or Parentis Lake in France, or off Australia’s northwest shelf. We take a location-specific approach, complying with or exceeding water and operating regulations in all of our business units. We also monitor water as a risk factor, understanding that a decreased water supply due to climate change, for example, would impact our operations. The following projects are just a few examples of our water protection work.
In France, we are a member of the Regional Water Basin Committee in the Ambès region located on an estuary that leads to the Atlantic Ocean. This is one of six water basin committees in the country, and brings together both private and public stakeholders to discuss and define the main priorities of the region’s water policy and the protection of its natural aquatic environments. In 2014, our Ambès superintendent was elected to the committee for a six-year term. The committee was responsible for the creation of a master plan for water development and management (SDAGE), and is often referred to as the “Water Parliament” of the basin. G4-16
Inland from the French coast, our operations on and near Parentis Lake are benefiting from our boat, the Pelican. Acquired in 2015, the boat is used for our lake rounds, and is increasing our presence and monitoring, offering a gain in intervention efficiency. From an environmental perspective, the engines meet the latest standards and regulations. This reduces fuel consumption and the boat's wake, thus offering greater respect for other lake users such as fishermen and sailors. In addition, we have organized several Days of Caring through our community investment activities that see our staff caring for Lake Parentis, clearing non-native invasive species from the shoreline, for example.
Like all facilities operating in Australian federal waters, Vermilion’s Wandoo Facilities are required to have a Safety Case and Environment Plan that are assessed and accepted by the Regulator, NOPSEMA. The Safety Case and Environment Plan are objective- and evidence-based assessments requiring the Regulator to be satisfied that:
The Environment Plan requires review and resubmission at a minimum frequency of five years. It addresses the environmental impact from Operations, Well Construction and oil spill response. We undertook a comprehensive environmental risk and impact assessment for all our activities within the Wandoo Field. In addition, we maintain a comprehensive spill response plan, which is aligned to our spill hazards and operating environment, and we review and test its capability requirements annually. NOPSEMA accepted our Operations and Well construction Environment Plans in 2014 and 2017 respectively. As part of our commitment, Vermilion provides a summary of the environment plan, including contact information, which can be found here). The Regulator conducts regular inspections to confirm compliance. Four inspections were conducted in 2017, with no enforcement action required.
As part of this work, we undertook offshore marine monitoring in late 2015 within the Wandoo Field. This included the characterization of the epifauna using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), water sampling and sediment sampling to:
The ROV environmental monitoring survey revealed an ecosystem at Wandoo with a number of transient species, including turtles, sharks and rays, spotted at the base of our platforms. Corals, sponges, clams and molluscs cover the concrete structure.
The program was developed to identify Vermilion’s potential impacts on the marine environment in order to achieve further improvements in environmental management if required. As a major stakeholder in the region, it is Vermilion’s responsibility to the wider community to assist in maintaining the health of the regional environment.