Environmental Protection

Environmental Policy

Responsible environmental practices are paramount and at the core of our operations. HighPoint believes that our abundant natural resources can be extracted in a manner that minimizes environmental impacts and complies with all environmental laws and regulations. In keeping with this philosophy HighPoint will:

  • Design, construct, operate and maintain our facilities in accordance with all applicable standards, laws, and established environmental practices.
  • Maintain business practices and procedures to minimize environmental impacts and effectively communicate these expectations to all employees and contractors.
  • Expect our employees and contractors to comply with our established environmental practices, and provide the necessary tools and training for them to do so.
  • Implement technically sound and economically practicable measures to avoid or mitigate risks and negative environmental impacts.
  • Recruit, retain, and empower the technical expertise necessary to implement the programs required to comply with environmental regulations.
  • Actively participate in the development of guidelines, regulations, and legislation proposed by state and federal agencies.

HighPoint’s commitment to environmental protection starts with the engagement and commitment of the Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Committee of the Board of Directors.  This committee is charged with reviewing the EHS performance of HighPoint and ensuring that adequate resources are committed to ongoing continuous improvement of our EHS programs.

Environmental Leadership

HighPoint staff routinely collaborates with peers at State and Federal regulatory agencies to shape and craft common sense environmental regulations.  HighPoint staff regularly testify before regulatory commissions and have been directly involved with the development of some of the most advanced oil and gas environmental regulations in the country.

We are a proud member of the Environmental Partnership.  The Environmental Partnership is comprised of representatives from over 70 companies in the upstream U.S. natural gas and oil industry.  Member companies are committed to continuously improving the industry’s environmental performance. It includes companies of all sizes, including many of the country’s major natural gas and oil producers.

Environmental Performance

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

HighPoint reports greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on an annual basis per EPA’s Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule (40 CFR Part 98 Subpart W). Reported data can be found here: www.epa.gov/ghgreporting. HighPoint incorporates best management practices to help reduce GHG emissions including: a leak detection and repair program, solar-generated electrical power, enhanced vapor recovery, and use of instrument air or electric process controllers where possible.

While we have increased annual production by 89% between 2015 and 2019, we have reduced GHG emissions resulting from engines, flaring, storage tank venting, pneumatic pumps and other sources by 45% in the same period of time. The graph below shows our GHG emissions in metric tons of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) per thousand of barrels of oil equivalent produced (MBOe). Our continued efforts to improve how we manage and mitigate GHG emissions will help us to further reduce our carbon impact.

Spill Prevention

HighPoint has implemented best management practices, engineering design, mechanical integrity, product assessment and training to prevent spills and minimize impacts. All spills are subject to a formal incident analysis so that we can continually improve our operations and eliminate future risks.

Hydraulic Fracturing and Green Completions

Hydraulic fracturing is a key part of the oil production process. Hydraulic fracturing is a well-stimulation method that has been used since the 1940’s to create and expand fractures in rock to create pathways for the oil to flow.  More than 90% of all crude oil and natural gas wells drilled in the U.S. employ hydraulic fracturing.

Commonly known as “fracing,” the stimulation process involves injecting a mixture of water, sand and a small amount of chemical additives at high pressure into rock formations many thousands of feet below the surface of the earth.  The mixture travels inside layers of cement and steel casing until it reaches the targeted formations with oil.  In these targeted formations small fractures are made in the rock that provide a path for trapped oil and natural gas to flow into the wellbore.

The ingredients used in fracing fluids vary according to geology.  In general terms, water makes up more than 90 percent of the solution.  Sand, or other proppant such as ceramic beads, constitute approximately 9 percent and additives make up less than 1 percent of the total volume.

HighPoint meets or exceeds the requirements of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s Hydraulic Fracturing Chemical Disclosure regulations.  HighPoint provides a Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Product Component Information Disclosure Report for each of our wells.  These reports are found on the FracFocus website (https://fracfocus.org/). In addition to the operator and the fluid content, each report identifies the API number, job start and end dates, state, county and well name.  FracFocus is managed by the Ground Water Protection Council and Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, two organizations whose missions both revolve around conservation and environmental protection.

The site was created to provide the public access to reported chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing within their area. To help users put this information into perspective, the site also provides objective information on hydraulic fracturing, the chemicals used, the purposes they serve and the means by which groundwater is protected.

HighPoint utilizes “green” completion practices for all well completions.  After a well has completed via hydraulic fracturing the next step in the development process is to recover the water injected into the well during hydraulic fracturing so that oil and gas can flow to the surface through the wellbore.  During this process large volumes of water are recovered and there is a gradual increase in the production of oil and natural gas.  In the green completion process, gas flowing from the well that is commingled with completions fluids flowing back to the surface is captured and put into a sales pipeline.  In instances where the capture gas does not meet the quality specifications to be sold it is combusted on location using high-efficiency flares or enclosed combustion devices.

Baseline Groundwater Monitoring

HighPoint has implemented a baseline groundwater monitoring program in which existing water wells within a 1/2-mile radius of our proposed drilling locations are sampled prior to HighPoint commencing drilling operations.  The wells are screened for a variety of potential contaminants to establish baseline conditions prior to drilling operations.  At the conclusion of drilling operations, the wells are resampled during the first 6 to 12 months of operation to ensure there have been no impacts to groundwater quality as a result of drilling operations.  Wells are resampled a second time 5 to 6 years after completion to ensure there are no long-term impacts to groundwater associated with production operations.  Sample data is provided to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and is publicly available via their website: https://cogcc.state.co.us/data.html#/cogis.

Produced Water Management

Produced water management is an important issue to HighPoint. Water produced from our oil and gas wells is either injected into commercial saltwater disposal (SWD) wells operated by 3rd parties or is re-used in our completion operations. During hydraulic fracturing operations in our Hereford field we recycle 95% of produced water from wells in the field for reuse in the hydraulic fracturing operations. In addition to reducing the volume of fresh water used in our operations, this has reduced truck traffic by 85 to 100 trips per day during hydraulic fracturing operations. HighPoint has constructed a produced water transfer system through the heart of our Northeast Wattenberg production operations which allows us to transfer 5,000 bbls per day of produced water to a third-party disposal well without use of any trucks. This pipeline has eliminated approximately 4,700 truck trips annually.

Environmental Protection by Design

HighPoint is on the leading edge of some of the most innovative designs in the country – all focused on reducing or eliminating emissions of air pollutants from our production facilities. Some of our recent innovations include:

  • Closed-loop tank emissions monitoring systems – these systems monitor and control pressures in our storage tanks to ensure tanks do not vent pollutants to the atmosphere.
  • Lease automated custody transfer skids – the use of these automated systems allow truck drivers to load trucks without having to open thief hatches to gauge liquid levels in tanks and obtain oil samples. This, in turn, has allowed us to eliminate the use of thief hatches on our tanks, eliminating a common source of emissions.
  • Produced water transfer pipeline – HighPoint has constructed a produced water transfer system through the heart of our Northeast Wattenberg production operations which allows us to transfer produced water to a third-party disposal well without use of any trucks. This pipeline has eliminated approximately 4,700 truck trips annually.
  • High efficiency engines – HighPoint was the first operator in the State of Colorado to deploy the new Waukesha VHP Series 5 compressor engines. These state of the art natural gas-fired compressor engines deliver up to 13% more power, better fuel flexibility, as much as 10% lower fuel consumption, up to 20% lower lifecycle costs, and over 30% longer service intervals – all of which adds up to lower emissions.
  • Renewable energy – HighPoint extensively utilizes solar power for our instrumentation power supply. We have deployed approximately 600 KW of solar panels across our field operations.
  • Reducing our environmental footprint doesn’t stop with our field operations. Our headquarters in downtown Denver is located in a building that is accredited with LEED Silver status.  We actively participate in the building’s recycling and energy conservation programs.  HighPoint also provides EcoPass or vanpool expense reimbursement benefits to all Denver employees to encourage employees to utilize mass transit or carpool during their commutes.

Environmental Inspections

HighPoint employees conduct site inspections on a daily basis to ensure all our facilities are operating correctly.  All lease operators receive specialized environmental training focused on air quality compliance, waste management, spill prevention, and other areas of environmental compliance.  Daily inspections are complemented by monthly leak detection and repair (LDAR) surveys at most facilities.  These surveys are conducted by specially trained HighPoint employees utilizing highly sensitive infra-red cameras capable of detecting very small gas and vapor emissions.  Any leaks discovered in these surveys are typically repaired immediately.

Emergency Preparedness

While HighPoint continually strives to create an incident-free operational environment, we believe that it is also our responsibility to prepare for unforeseen and unexpected events.  HighPoint operates under both site-specific and field-level emergency response plans.  These plans dictate the response measures to be taken during an emergency and HighPoint employees are trained on our response plans annually.  We supplement the training with live “table-top” exercises to reinforce the skills and knowledge necessary for timely and effective responses to emergency events.  We are a founding member of the Colorado Preparedness and Response Network, a consortium of oil and gas operators in the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies who routinely collaborate to share knowledge and resources and create a common approach for response to oil and gas-related emergencies in the Front Range.

In addition to our emergency response program, HighPoint provides specialized training to field operations staff in the area of spill and fire response. All HighPoint field employees receive annual training on proper spill mitigation techniques and fire response – including live fire drills. We maintain a fleet of fully equipped spill response trailers that are located strategically through our areas of operations. Additionally, every HighPoint field vehicle is equipped with a fire extinguisher and a small spill response kit such that response materials are immediately available to every HighPoint employee in the field.

Members of HighPoint’s EHS staff have received specialized Incident Command System training provided by Federal Emergency Management Agency of the Department of Homeland Security. This training provides HighPoint EHS staff with the skills necessary to coordinate with local, state, and federal entities who may be involved in responding to a significant incident at any HighPoint location.