Environmental Stewardship | Seneca Resources Company | National Fuel Gas

Environmental Stewardship

Environmental Stewardship

Fueling a Cleaner Tomorrow

From up-to-date monitoring to above-and-beyond stewardship, we’re committed to fueling a better tomorrow by caring for our environment today.

Air Emissions

Seneca Resources continuously monitors and reports on specific types of air emissions that are relevant to business operations as required by state or federal regulations. Emissions management and monitoring protocol are regularly reviewed.

We have implemented a number of initiatives, technologies and processes to ensure compliance with regulations and continuously seek out new ways to minimize GHG and other air emissions generated by operations.

We also participate in three voluntary methane emission reduction programs that seek to reduce methane and other emissions beyond regulatory requirements by implementing best management practices.

EPA Natural Gas STAR member since 2015:

A program focused on identifying opportunities and implementing emission-reducing technologies throughout Seneca Resources’ operations.

Learn about the Natural Gas STAR Program

EPA Methane Challenge member since 2018:

A program with specific best management practices that Seneca Resources has committed to implementing to reduce or eliminate methane emissions.

Learn about the Methane Challenge Program

API Environmental Partnership member since 2018:

An industry-led organization to share best practices and new technology information relating to emissions controls with commitments to implement those controls.

Learn about the API Environmental Partnership

In early 2019, Seneca Resources started using field gas to power the pumps necessary for hydraulic fracturing on its primary fracturing fleet, which significantly reduced diesel use. This dual-fuel fleet is now exclusively used in the East Division, resulting in significant emission reductions of CO2, SOX, NOX and particulate emissions.

Likewise, field gas is used in drilling rig operations, which significantly reduces diesel fuel needs for the drilling fleet. In addition, some of the fleet vehicles in the East Division are dual-fuel engines, extending their capability to run both natural gas and gasoline. We continue to look for opportunities to convert diesel engines utilized in field operations to dual-fuel or natural gas engines; temporary natural gas fluid transfer pumps are just one example of this effort.

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Green Completions

We employ “green completion” techniques on nearly all Marcellus and Utica Shale development wells. Green completions avoid venting and flaring during a well’s initial production whenever possible to minimize emissions. All of Seneca Resources’ development wells in fiscal 2019 employed green completions.

Integrating Renewable Energy into Operations

In July 2016, Seneca Resources completed installation of a 3.1-megawatt photovoltaic solar power generation facility at the North Midway Sunset field in Kern County, Calif. This state-of-the-art complex was California’s largest solar power generation system in the oil and gas industry at the time of construction. It’s estimated that the project generates 5.4 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year, all of which is consumed by Seneca Resources’ production equipment at North Midway Sunset. With this project, we became the first California oil producer to take advantage of the California Air Resource Board’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard “Innovative Method” credit program. We further reduced our carbon footprint in 2018 through the installation of a 90-kilowatt photovoltaic solar power facility to power the Bakersfield division office.

Some additional elements of Seneca Resources’ emission control program include:

  • State-of-the art well surveillance, monitoring and reporting
  • The utilization of automated valves and/or artificial lifts
  • Ultrasonic and infrared methane detection devices
  • Operator well status updates
  • Proprietary wireless communications network for real-time reporting
  • Extensive leak detection and repair survey programs


Freshwater use is strictly regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PaDEP) statewide, and also by the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) in certain parts of Seneca Resources’ operation areas. Withdrawal quantities are set by these agencies and followed accordingly to meet all regulatory expectations.

Seneca Resources also follows a strict “zero surface discharge” policy and works diligently to treat, recycle and reuse all flowback and produced water. In fiscal 2019, 92% of Seneca Resources’ produced fluids in the East Division, or 6.4 million barrels, were recycled by its subsidiary, Highland Field Services (HFS). Additionally, HFS accepted 440,000 barrels of fluids from third parties. When necessary, responsible disposal technologies are utilized, such as underground injection. The greater use of recycled fluid per well presents an encouraging industry trend that Seneca Resources is glad to be leading.

The East Division also has several innovative policies aimed at minimizing the impact of water sourcing. Both recycled and freshwater are part of the mixture used for drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

Recycled water

The average percent blend for recycled water, including that produced by Seneca Resources as well as third-party produced is as follows:

2015—35%     |    2016—75%    |    2017—75%   |    2018—70%     |    2019—75%

In an effort to reduce costs and the environmental footprint of the Western Development Area (WDA) drilling program, Seneca Resources started its own water logistics company, Highland Field Services, LLC (HFS), to manage a substantial portion of fluids used and produced during operations. HFS provides unique water resource and recycling solutions to upstream and midstream operators by creating incremental value from traditional waste streams.

HFS manages the movement of approximately 1.3 million barrels of fluid every month, more than 95% of which is pumped through its pipeline distribution system to deliver fluids from storage facilities directly to our Marcellus and Utica development pads. As a result, an estimated 110,000 truck trips were avoided in fiscal 2019, eliminating the associated air emissions and impacts on local roads and public infrastructure.

More info about HFS


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We have developed our own series of containment management best practices. In the East Division, primary containment, such as steel tanks, bins and containers, are always placed within secondary containment with a physical barrier surrounding each. Additional steps taken include:

  • Using high-grade liners and rig mats at every pad, long before mandated by PaDEP
  • Conducting rigorous daily inspections and maintenance to ensure liner is intact
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In Pennsylvania, we collaborate with the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources to enhance the environment and wildlife habitats.

In California, Seneca Resources acquires offset acreage for habitat conservation if areas where endangered flora or fauna exist are disturbed.

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