In recent years the oil and gas industry has intensified its efforts to develop productive and effective partnerships with local communities, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations with the goal of improving and protecting the health of our natural environment. A wide variety of partnerships have been implemented to protect wildlife, rehabilitate and enhance habitats, support environmental education and fund research conservation studies. Effective partnerships in technology development are also critical in learning how better to preserve our environment for today's and for future generations.
Conservation and Wildlife Habitat (Biodiversity) Protection
A growing human population places greater demand on the Earth’s limited supply of natural resources, which makes other species more vulnerable to a loss of their natural habitats and biological diversity. Although the oil and natural gas industry has engaged in environmental partnerships over the years to promote conservation and wildlife protection programs, the industry is taking more aggressive steps to integrate biodiversity conservation into its operational practices by partnering with other institutions to measure biodiversity impacts and employ new technologies to minimize its environmental footprint.
Technology Development and Clean Fuel/Vehicle Partnerships
Continued advances in technology are needed to meet the growing demand for clean, affordable energy. Sustainably meeting this demand requires a shared responsibility and commitment by the public and private sectors to ensure that our environment remains clean and healthy for this and future generations. Partnerships among various industry sectors, government agencies, academic institutions and conservation groups are developing further improvements and new technologies that can enable sustainable progress. Oil and gas companies have formed cooperative partnerships with the automotive sector to reduce the impact of hydrocarbon fuels on air quality and to develop cleaner, more efficient fuel/vehicle systems. Fuel cell technology has the potential to improve motor fuel efficiency while reducing emissions.
Air Quality Improvement and Climate Change Partnerships
The oil and natural gas industry continues to make progress toward improving air quality and limiting greenhouse gases by reducing these emissions from their own operations and by enabling energy consumers to use hydrocarbon fuels more efficiently. Partnerships within the industry – and with other industries, government agencies and academic institutions – are essential to future progress.
Environmental Clean-up, Recycling and Restoration Programs
The oil and natural gas industry has been a leader in improving recycling and waste management practices that have reduced raw material usage and the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. API works with member companies on waste-related issues that address the classification of hazardous waste, recycling, and clean-up policies. Although refineries tend to produce similar types of wastes, sometimes there are different ways to manage these materials with the aim of recycling as much usable material as possible.
Emergency and Spill Response Preparedness
For the past 35 years, the API has worked cooperatively with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency bringing together industry experts to share information and discuss problems and solutions regarding oil spills as part of its biennial “International Oil Spill Conferences.” Many API members participated in the formation and continued activities of the “Marine Spill Response Corporation” and the “Great Lakes Spill Prevention Initiative.” Along the Gulf of Mexico, employees from several companies participate in annual beach and coastal clean-ups.