Health and Safety

Environmental Protection

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 testifies 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 50 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: https://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 drilling and production activity over the past three years in the DJ Basin, we have managed to drastically reduce GHG emissions resulting from flaring, storage tank venting, and pneumatic pumps. The graph below shows our GHG emissions in metric tons of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) per millions 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.  Through these efforts, we have been able to reduce the number of spills per barrel of oil produced by over 40% in the past 5 years.  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 “fracking,” 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 fracking 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.  Nearly 400 of these reports may be 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 comingled 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.

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 active members of the Front Range Emergency Resources Co-op, 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 provided specialized training to field operations staff in the area of spill and response.  All HighPoint field employees receive annual training on proper spill response 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.

Health and Safety

The safety and wellbeing of our employees, contractors, and anyone impacted by our operations is a core value of the Company.  We believe that accidents and injuries are preventable and don’t “just happen”.  HighPoint has accepted the obligation to provide a safe workplace and each employee has a vital responsibility to contribute to working safely.  Through such joint effort, an accident and injury free work environment can be achieved.  In keeping with this philosophy HighPoint will:

  • Provide safe and healthy working conditions for all individuals in the work place. This includes tools, equipment, and materials free of recognized and preventable hazards.  Safety procedures will not to be compromised to achieve other goals.
  • Design, construct, operate and maintain our facilities in accordance with all applicable standards, laws, and established safety practices.
  • Recognize that an effective safety program extends beyond normal working hours. HighPoint will provide effective on-the-job safety and health management, and will encourage safety in employees and their family’s off-the-job activities.
  • Maintain safety rules and procedures with firm and fair enforcement and effectively communicate these expectations to all employees.
  • Provide necessary supervisory and employee training so that each person can acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitude needed to perform their work in a safe and responsible manner.
  • Promote good health and safety attitudes by enlisting the support of all employees through communication and appropriate recognition of superior safety performances.
  • Achieve leadership in accident prevention and health protection by constantly improving safety performance with the objective of eliminating accidents and exposure to hazards.

One of the cornerstones of HighPoint’s Health and Safety Program is our Stop Work Authority Policy which empowers anyone on any HighPoint facility to stop work if an unsafe condition or act is observed.  Other key program elements include an extensive list of Health and Safety Policies and Procedures coupled with a training program that features monthly live classroom training, computer-based training, and on-the-job training.

Health & Safety Performance

At December 31, 2018, HighPoint employees had worked over 1,000,000 hours without injury.  In 2018 HighPoint completed our third consecutive year without an employee injury.  This has led to a best-in-class total recordable injury rate of 0.0 versus the 2017 industry average rate of 0.9 injuries per 200,000 hours worked.

Contractor Safety

HighPoint has established a robust and proactive contractor safety management program.  At the core of this program is the use of ISNetworld to evaluate service provider safety programs and performance. Through the ISNetworld’s online database, supervisors can verify that all service providers are qualified to work for HighPoint. Once a service provider has been approved to work for HighPoint, routine spot checks and inspections will be used to ensure that HighPoint’s requirements are being met. Use of the ISNetworld system not only allows HighPoint to verify the safety performance of our contractors, it also allows us to evaluate the performance of our family of contactors against industry-specific performance.  In 2017 HighPoint contractors experienced, on average, 34% fewer incidents than the industry average.

HighPoint partners with our contractors to ensure that all contractors are aware of their right to invoke Stop Work Authority without fear of retribution.  We work collaboratively on incident investigations and regularly hold work group level focused health and safety discussions to review project-specific hazards and reiterate HighPoint’s contractor health and safety expectations.

Health and Safety Leadership

HighPoint’s EHS professionals are active in many local and regional safety-orientated associations including the:

  • Front Range Emergency Resources Co-Op
  • Weld County Local Emergency Planning Commission
  • DJ Basin Safety Council
  • American Society of Safety Professionals – Oil and Gas Specialty Practice Group
  • American Industrial Hygiene Association – Rocky Mountain Section

Our participation in these organizations ensures that HighPoint’s EHS staff have access to a vast network of oil and gas oriented EHS professionals who can provide valuable insight as we seek to continually improve our health and safety program.

Safety Data Sheets

HighPoint maintains a library of Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for the products we produce such as crude oil and natural gas.  These SDSs contain information on the hazards associated with the products HighPoint produces as well as guidance on how to respond to any incident involving the products such as a spill or fire.

Training

HighPoint maintains a robust and comprehensive health and safety training program consisting of monthly live training sessions as well as computer-based training.  Both training programs are complemented with “hands-on” training and demonstrations at HighPoint facilities.  HighPoint field employees are trained on over 25 topics annually – receiving a minimum of 24 hours of health and safety training every year.  Certain employees and supervisors receive additional specialized training such as confined space entry and rescue or reasonable suspicion for alcohol and drug testing.  All HighPoint field employees are certified in First Aid and CPR and this training is also made available on a voluntary basis to all HighPoint employees.

Whistleblower Hotline

Any employee or third party may submit a good faith complaint regarding improper activities believed to be engaged in by the Company, including environmental, health, and safety matters, to our third party whistleblower hotline without the fear of retaliation. Our third party hotline is maintained by Navex Global and can be reached at 1-800-826-6762 (Company ID: HPR).

Driving and Vehicle Safety

HighPoint conducts a minimum of 4 hours of driving-orientated safety training annually for each employee who operates a company vehicle.  Additionally, every company vehicle is equipped with GPS-based vehicle monitoring system.  This allows us to not only monitor driving performance, but also to ensure employees working alone in the field can be constantly accounted for.

Employee Wellness

In addition to providing a safe working environment, HighPoint strongly promotes a healthy lifestyle for all employees. HighPoint offers all employees reimbursement for gym or recreation center memberships, visits or punch cards, personal training, fitness equipment and devices, fitness classes, weight-loss, smoking cessation and other qualified wellness programs, up to $720 annually.  HighPoint’s benefits program also provides HighPoint employees access to an Employee Assistance Program free of charge.  The service provides resources to offer employees solutions to everyday issues such as selecting child care, financing a car, as well as more serious issues such as alcohol or drug addiction, divorce or relationship problems.