Habitat

Our operations take place in diverse locations onshore and offshore. In accordance with applicable regulations and our own environmental standards, we assess potential impacts to these habitats before we begin our operations and continue to monitor our impacts throughout development.

Major Assessment Projects

We conducted major environmental baseline surveys in the Falkland Islands, near Cape Horn on the southern tip of South America. In this area, numerous ecologically sensitive seabird and seal colony areas exist on the coastline. Although no protected areas are directly in our license area, there are a number of proposed marine Important Bird Areas that include parts of our operating area. We carefully assessed potential impacts from our operations, including physical presence, atmospheric emissions, discharges to sea, bio-security, underwater and airborne noise, waste management, visual impact on seascape and landscape, and effects on local resources. We then designed control and mitigation measures to moderate the overall impact during drilling and minimize the residual impacts.

During 2015, we also completed similar environmental baseline surveys for the Leviathan and Tamar fields offshore Israel. These two surveys were part of a comprehensive environmental impact assessment and are important for future monitoring.

Ongoing Habitat Protection

In our ongoing operations, we continue to look for ways to minimize and/or mitigate our effects on habitats.

Restoring the Pawnee Grassland

Noble Energy established a partnership with the non-profit Tread Lightly! in 2014 to support multiple-use access, sustainability, education and stewardship of America’s natural resources. This multifaceted partnership continues to serve as a national example of the benefits of public-private collaboration.

Restoring the Pawnee Grassland
Restoring the Pawnee Grassland

In 2015, this partnership worked with the U.S. Forest Service to complete three restoration projects in the Pawnee National Grassland near Greeley, Colorado. By providing the funding and volunteers needed, priority projects that otherwise might not have been completed for another year or more, are now finished and provide enhanced and sustainable access to the grasslands. The three projects:

  • We fenced off an area for off-highway vehicle (OHV) access and built a new information kiosk for OHV users.
  • We constructed an 80-foot fence to block off a road that disrupts natural raptor nesting grounds; instead, visitors will be directed to a new trailhead built by the U.S. Forest Service.
  • We cleaned and improved the popular Baker Draw Designated Shooting Area, including new permanent shade structures.

Click here to watch a video about one of the projects.

The partnership is also creating an educational program to teach 10,000 Greeley students grades 2-6 outdoor ethics and skills. This direct exposure to nature has proven essential for healthy childhood development and for nurturing a society of environmental stewards.

A second major initiative in Colorado in 2015 was our sponsorship of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Partners in the Outdoors program, which brought together stakeholders regarding the future of Colorado’s outdoors and recreational opportunities at a two-day conference to discuss challenges, opportunities, and ways to partner to foster a strong conservation ethic throughout Colorado communities.

In August, Noble Energy sponsored a “Stewards of the Land” grassland tour in partnership with Colorado State University, the West Greeley Conservation District and the Lonesome Pines Land and Cattle Company. The tour included Noble Energy’s 60-foot-by-one-mile pollinator garden planted over a natural gas liquids pipeline and a visit to Grover, Colorado to learn about soil health, cover crops and land trusts. The tour demonstrated Noble Energy’s commitment to reclaim land used for operations by working with land owners and conservation groups.

Protecting Rocky Mountain Raptors

Noble Energy and the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program continued the partnership that began in 2014, when we jointly developed a method for employees and contractors to internally report injured raptors they see. In 2015, we held our second annual raptor and bird awareness and compliance training seminar. More than 80 employees attended and learned about raptor species in the area, best management practices, personal safety tips and incident reporting.

Raptor education is one aspect of a broader wildlife, cultural and wetland awareness and compliance program for Noble Energy operations in the DJ Basin.

Enhancing Habitats in the Marcellus Shale

In Greene and Washington counties, Pennsylvania, there is a known maternity colony of the Indiana bat, a federally-protected, endangered species. We are working with agencies to avoid or minimize the overall impacts of our operations on Indiana bats and their habitat, and find ways to enhance habitat where appropriate.

We partnered with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Marshall County Schools and outdoor retailer Cabela’s to stock Big Wheeling Creek with more than 7,000 pounds of rainbow, brook and golden trout. Forty Noble Energy employees volunteered at the event, working alongside more than 60 students who helped stock the stream, fished and learned about the importance of wildlife conservation. The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources identified the project as a “world-class stocking event.”

Protecting Biodiversity in West Africa

In Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, there were no significant impacts to protected areas or other areas of high biodiversity value outside of protected areas during operations in 2015.

In Cameroon, we successfully implemented all mitigations set out in the Environment and Social Impact Assessment , Environmental and Social Management Plan, and Well Management Plan for our operations. These assessments and plans are part of our standard international operating practice.

In Equatorial Guinea, we provided funds to Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program (BBPP), a locally operated organization affiliated with Drexel University in the United States. The program serves as a respected source of biodiversity expertise to protect endangered species of turtle, monkey and other flora and fauna. Noble Energy funds are being used for work with fishing communities, university students and community groups.

We also reached out to the community to promote environmental stewardship. As part of the Equatorial Guinea GrEEN Program created in 2014, we held a day of environmental education activities for local children ages 12-17 at the Moka Wildlife Center on Bioko Island. The day’s activities were planned with BBPP and Ian Nichols, a National Geographic photographer. Participants included children from the local Caracolas Orphanage, children of Noble Energy’s national staff, and members of the local Eco Guinea club, among others. A highlight of the day was a photography scavenger hunt, in which children took photos with digital cameras provided by the wildlife center. The photos were displayed at BBPP’s annual gala event in Malabo in December.

Moka Wildlife Center
Moka Wildlife Center

Moka Wildlife Center

Protecting Biodiversity in the Falkland Islands

Numerous sensitive areas exist on the Falkland Islands coastline related to seabirds and seal colonies. The closest of these to our license areas are Beauchene Island, Cape Pembroke (Sea Lion Islands group) and Bull Point on the East Falkland mainland. To date, there are no offshore protected or designated marine areas in deep waters around the Falkland Islands, although there are a number of draft Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in the shallow water around the Falkland Islands, including two that cover two license blocks. There are also several protected areas in shallow waters around the Falkland Islands coastline and a number of coastal IBAs.

In our operations, we carefully evaluate biodiversity risks and take appropriate measures to mitigate them. In 2015, we developed a biosecurity plan to reduce the likelihood of introducing non-native or harmful invasive marine or terrestrial species to the ecosystem. This includes requiring that all support vessels follow International Maritime Organization regulations regarding ballast management, requiring vessels to have anti-fouling coating, and informing a biosecurity officer when shipments arrive for inspection.

We also developed a bird strike management plan to help monitor, record, report and mitigate the potential for avian interactions with our drilling operations. Because lights at night can disorient birds, we reduce lights during drilling operations as much as possible without affecting safety. Other environmental mitigation efforts undertaken in the Falkland Islands include a 10-kilometer avoidance area around Beauchene and Sea Lion Islands, avoidance of known archaeological ship-wreck sites, and procedures to reduce underwater noise. Any time we conduct seismic acquisition in the Falkland Islands, we work with a fishing liaison to coordinate activities and an onsite marine mammal observer who uses acoustic monitoring to guide us to shut down activities when marine mammals enter the area.

Educating Falklands Responders on Oiled Wildlife Procedures

In the Falkland Islands, we co-sponsored training for several members of the Falkland Islands community on oiled wildlife response delivered by Aiuká, an independent oil response consultancy. Falklands Conservation staff members were also able to take part in the training.

Endangered and Protected Species

In the areas where we operate, there are a number of animal and plant species defined as endangered, threatened, vulnerable or otherwise “of concern” according to national or international criteria.

Click on an operating region below to see the relevant species and the criteria by which they are defined.

Endangered Species Act

Endangered

N. Platte pallid sturgeon

Threatened

Ute ladies’- tresses
Colorado butterfly plant
Sandhill crane
Preble’s meadow jumping mouse

Species of Concern

Ferruginous hawk
Burrowing owl
Common blatterwort

Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act

Bald eagle

Endangered Species Act

Endangered

Indiana bat
Sheepnose mussel
Snuffbox mussel
Clubshell mussel
Fanshell mussel
Pink mucket mussel
Rayed bean mussel

Threatened

Small whorled pogonia
Northern long-eared bat

Endangered Species Act

Endangered

Whooping crane
Gulf Coast jaguarundi
Northern aplomado falcon
Ocelot

Threatened

Mexican spotted owl

Candidate

Sprague’s pipit
Golden orb
Texas pimpleback
Texas Fatmucket
Bald eagle (Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act)

Endangered Species Act

Endangered

Fin whale
Humpback whale
Sei whale
Sperm whale
Blue whale
Hawksbill sea turtle
Kemp’s ridley sea turtle
Leatherback sea turtle
Smalltooth sawfish

Threatened

Green sea turtle
Loggerhead sea turtle
Gulf sturgeon
Scalloped hammerhead shark

Candidate

Bryde’s whale
Dwarf seahorse
Caribbean electric ray
Giant manta ray
Alabama shad
Oceanic whitetip shark

Species of Concern

Dusky shark
Sand tiger shark
Ivory tree coral

Marine Mammal Protection Act

Killer whale
West Indian manatee
Cuvier’s beaked whale
North Atlantic right whale
Minke whale
Dwarf sperm whale
Short-finned pilot whale
Bottlenose dolphin
Risso’s dolphin
Sowerby’s beaked whale
Eden’s whale
Pygmy sperm whale
Densebeak whale
Gulf Stream beaked whale
False killer whale
Pygmy killer whale
Melon-headed whale
Atlantic spotted dolphin
Pantropical spotted dolphin
Rough-toothed dolphin
Atlantic spinner dolphin
Striped dolphin
Bornean dolphin
Spinner dolphin

Conservation of Wildlife and Nature Bill

All birds with the exception of the Upland Goose, Domestic Goose, Mallard Duck, Yellow-billed Teal, and Crested Duck are protected in the Falkland Islands per the Conservation of Wildlife and Nature Bill 1999.

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List

Endangered

Sei whale
Fin whale
Southern royal albatross
Yellow-nosed albatross
Sooty albatross
Atlantic petrel

Vulnerable

Sperm whale
Grey-headed albatross
Northern royal albatross
Wandering albatross
White-chinned petrel

Near Threatened

Black-browed albatross
Sooty shearwater

Least Concern

Southern bottlenose whale
Southern right whale dolphin
Hourglass dolphin
South Atlantic fur seal
Southern elephant seal
Leopard seal
Southern sea lion
Great shearwater
Manx shearwater
Soft-plumaged petrel
Giant petrel
Wilson’s storm petrel
Cape petrel
Southern giant petrel
Northern giant petrel
Grey back storm petrel
Falkland Islands skua
Antarctic fulmar

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List

Critically Endangered

Pennant’s red colobus
Eisentraut’s mouse shrew
Leatherback turtle
Hawksbill turtle

Endangered

Drill
Preuss’s guenon
Bioko forest shrew
Sei whale
Blue whale
Fin whale
Green turtle
Loggerhead turtle
Pincushion ray

Vulnerable

Black colobus
Red-eared guenon
Humpback whale
Sperm whale
African manatee
Olive ridley turtle
Fernando Po speirops
Red-headed rockfowl
Cape gannet

Near Threatened

Monitor lizard
Ursula’s sunbird
African skimmer
Damara tern
White grouper

Least Concern

Crowned guenon
Putty-nosed guenon
African brush-tailed porcupine
Ogilby’s duiker
Blue duiker
Common mink whale
Melon-headed whale
Cuvier’s beaked whale
Risso’s dolphin
Fraser’s dolphin
Pantropical spotted dolphin
Striped dolphin
Common bottlenose dolphin
Mountain saw-wing
Mutton hamlet
Niger hind
Mottled grouper
Northern star coral
Golfball coral
Great star coral
Mustard hill coral
Finger coral
Lesser starlet coral

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List

Critically Endangered

Mediterranean monk seal

Endangered

Fin whale
Sei whale
Green turtle
North Atlantic right whale
Loggerhead turtle

Near Threatened

Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin

Vulnerable

Sperm whale
Leatherback turtle