Elk 67%; Navajo Nation Oil and Gas (NNOG) 33% non-operator
As the new operator of Utah's largest oil field, the Greater Aneth Oil Field (Aneth), Elk celebrated its first year of operatorship with zero employee injuries resulting in days away, restricted activities or transferred duties. This safety performance milestone was better than the former operator of the field for the preceding 12-month period and achieved with 19,974 less man hours worked. Elk now has a staff and consultant headcount approaching 115, a large majority of which are field operations based. We believe this improved safety performance has been achieved because we have been able to review, refresh and add operating business values in health, safety and environment from existing and new employees and contractors over the last 12 months as we transform into an active, best practice oil field operator.
The addition of Aneth staff and contractors to the existing Elk team necessitated our broadening of sustainability strategy and future sustainability reporting scope as we continue to transform.
This ensures our expanded employee and contractor base has a transparent and usable EHS management system. This adaptive approach also encapsulates other areas of good corporate governance as management structures are enhanced to deliver more robust systems that in turn are focused on providing continued shareholder returns.
Elk's COO continues to steer the sustainability governance structure as assisted by our US-based EHS Coordinator and two field-based EHS Specialists along with a Governmental/Corporate Affairs Officer. Corporate and field oversight ensures sustainability themes are implemented into and monitored across our everyday business practices in the areas we operate in. As Elk further develops in this area, we will better measure, refine and embed sustainability goals and targets.
Four core areas have been identified by Elk as the focus of its sustainability reporting in 2018-2019 and some highlights are given below:
- Health and safety of our staff and contractors is paramount and taking over operatorship of Aneth on 1 January 2018 allowed us to undertake ground-up revisions of our Corporate Safety Manual, Process Safety Management Manual, Operator Qualification Manual and Contractor EHS Manual. This process has already started to deliver in that our EHS measurement for 2018 was better than the former operator's preceding 12 months.
- Wellbeing of our staff and contractors: As the new Aneth operator Elk undertook early in 2018 the "8760" Safety Campaign Development - Safety should be a priority 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.
Diversity and Equality
- Elk is further building its capability in actively managing diversity to develop and improve the talent available to drive performance and capability outcomes. Most of Elk's Aneth field operations and office employees across all disciplines belong to the Navajo Nation. Elk provides college scholarships and paid internships.
Community & Corporate Citizenship
- Landowner interaction: The Greater Aneth Oil Field (Aneth) lies solely within the Navajo Nation Reservation and Navajo Nation Oil and Gas (NNOG) is Elk's 37% partner in further developing the field. NNOG generates significant income for the Navajo Nation from its operating partnership with Elk. On 207 square kilometres (80 square miles) that make up Aneth there are some 125 homesteads and Elk field operations managers ensure a two-way dialogue with homesteaders making certain they are fully aware of impending works in the vicinity of their properties to minimise disturbance.
- In late 2018 Elk was a major sponsor of the 107th Annual Northern Navajo Nation Fair in Shiprock, New Mexico. Elk sponsorship was allocated for emergency services and public safety needs for the duration of the fair. Elk supported the two agencies with needed lodging and meals. The fair attracts a lot of local and interstate visitors therefore requiring a paramedic presence and increased traffic control.
- A particularly harsh winter with rare heavy snow falls across our operating acreage led to multiple requests for help from elderly lease residents for assistance in snow removal on roads into home sites. Many of the elders depend on passable roads to access and obtain daily medical care.
- Elk also maintains strong links with academia across the State and hosted graduating engineering students from the University of Utah for a tour of the Aneth Unit.
- Operating footprint: As well as adhering to all Navajo Nation, State and Federal protocols as a diligent operator of Aneth, we all appreciate the natural beauty of the environment we work in. On World Clean Up Day 2018 sponsored by Elk a large number of employees, family, friends and community members volunteered and came together to clean up almost 32 kilometres (20 miles) of nature strip adjoining the public highway through the Aneth area.
- Regulatory compliance and reporting: Elk has established relationships and reporting requirements with the requisite traditional owners, State and Federal authorities, which includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Land Management, the US Environmental Protection Agency - Water and Air Permits, the Navajo Nation Water Board, the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
For the benefit of all Elk stakeholders during the coming year we will adhere to and benchmark our expanded sustainability strategy and reporting against global oil industry guidelines for social and environmental issues as set down by IPIECA (International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association). Elk will also be utilising components of the GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) guidelines to enhance our sustainability performance and disclosure for the benefit of all stakeholders.