PITTSBURGH, PA, Sept. 18, 2014 -- Chevron Appalachia (Chevron) was recently certified by the Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD), a collaboration between environmental organizations and energy companies encouraging responsible development of shale gas resources in the Appalachian region, as the first company to successfully complete CSSD's rigorous evaluation and verification process.
Chevron has earned full CSSD certification against all 15 of the CSSD's Performance Standards that serve as the foundation for the Center's recently-established independent third-party evaluation and verification program. These standards center on operational performance as part of the producer's environmental stewardship and continuous improvement processes.
Like any company that earns CSSD certification, Chevron must continue to adhere to CSSD's Performance Standards in the Appalachian Basin, integrating the Center's publicly-available best practices into the company's long-term continuous improvement process. CSSD will monitor adherence and continue to build and expand on its initial 15 Performance Standards.
"While the Center's standards are not intended to replace existing regulation, our focus is to identify environmental stewardship areas where we can define standards that meet or exceed regulation, and to ensure that companies that qualify for certification continue to maintain these standards," said Susan LeGros, CSSD president and executive director. "We will continue to collaborate with stakeholders with diverse perspectives to identify transparent, prudent and responsible practices in shale gas development."
A Comprehensive Process
To earn its CSSD certification, Chevron conducted a two-year preparatory process based on CSSD's initial 15 Performance Standards for air and water that were developed to reflect leading industry practices in the Appalachian Basin. The Center officially opened its certification process in January 2014, after which Chevron applied for initial certification in April 2014. The evaluation and verification process was commenced by auditor Bureau Veritas (BV), a global specialist in testing, inspection and certification under contract to CSSD.
Accordingly, BV conducted a pre-audit to familiarize itself with Chevron's comprehensive management system and determine audit readiness of its Appalachian Basin operations. After that, the audit team conducted the full-scale certification audit in June 2014 that consisted of in-depth documentation review, staff interviews at Chevron's offices and a field-based component that verified that the company's operational practices were in conformance with applicable standards.
In keeping with CSSD's Performance Verification Protocol, which details the frequency and intensity of the field and audit activities, the BV audit team visited 22 Chevron sites (16 in southwestern Pennsylvania, four in West Virginia and two in Ohio) that represented the company's geographic and operational locations throughout the Appalachian Basin. Once the audit was complete, BV submitted its findings in a report to CSSD. The Center's internal Certification Decision Committee, consisting of individuals not aligned with any CSSD participant, then reviewed the audit report and determined eligibility for certification.
Certification, which is valid for 24 months, after which companies can seek renewal, is based on the CSSD's 15 initial Performance Standards for air and water. Companies can seek certifications in air & climate, water & waste, or both, concurrently. Auditors evaluate the applicant's operations to the standards that are specific to the certification a company chooses. A summary of a completed audit report will be made accessible on CSSD's website. Further, visitors to the site can review a summary of the Chevron audit report at www.SustainableShale.org.
The key components of the comprehensive verification and certification process include: CSSD's 15 Initial Performance Standards focused on the protection of air & climate and water & waste, as well as standards, guidance and protocols for both the auditor and the producers applying for certification.
This includes Auditor Qualifications, Standards and Accreditation that established requirements for impartiality, knowledge, skill, and resources to meet the scope, scale and geography of operations being evaluated. CSSD also provides Guidance for Third-Party Auditors, which details the kinds of data, reporting and documentation producers must provide to demonstrate conformance to the Center's Performance Standards.
CSSD's guidance to Chevron included its Producer Performance Verification Protocol, which details the frequency and intensity of the field and office audit process, and it provides for extensive document review, on-site visits and follow-up activities. Verification of conformance to the standards will continue to be monitored through the life of the two-year certification period. Further, all producers operating in the Appalachian region are eligible to apply for certification.
About Center for Sustainable Shale Development
CSSD is an independent organization whose mission is to support continuous improvement and innovative practices through performance standards and third-party certification in the Appalachian Basin. Funded by philanthropic foundations and participating energy companies, CSSD promotes collaborative efforts by a diverse group of stakeholders to address the imperatives for prudent development of shale gas resources as called for by the Shale Gas Production Subcommittee of the U.S. Secretary of Energy’s Advisory Board; the National Petroleum Council; and the International Energy Agency. For more information, visit, www.sustainableshale.org.