Environmental

GHG Emissions and Climate Change

Equitrans recognizes that climate change is one of the most critical issues facing our Company, our society, and the world. The effects of climate change require global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and our business is subject to climate change-related risks. As an energy infrastructure company, we recognize the ongoing developments and risks surrounding climate change, as well as corresponding potential opportunities. As such, we must continue to focus on long-term sustainable performance — working to minimize impacts to the environment and society and aggressively pursuing climate change mitigation targets.

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Approach to Greenhouse Gas Emissions

3-3
Management of material topics

305-1
11.1.5
Direct (Scope 1) GHG emissions

305-2
11.1.6
Energy indirect (Scope 2) GHG emissions

305-3
11.1.7
Other indirect (Scope 3) GHG emissions

305-4
11.1.8
GHG emissions intensity

305-5
11.2.3
Reduction of GHG emissions

413-2
11.15.3
Operations with significant actual and potential negative impacts on local communities

EM-MD-110a.1
Gross global Scope 1 emissions, percentage methane, percentage covered under emissions-limiting regulations

EM-MD-110a.2
Discussion of long-term and short-term strategy or plan to manage Scope 1 emissions, emissions reduction targets, and an analysis of performance against those targets

3-3
305-1
305-2
305-3
305-4
305-5
413-2
EM-MD-110a.1
EM-MD-110a.2

Equitrans acknowledges that the effects of climate change, and potential developments such as regulatory matters, present pressing challenges to society and risks to our Company, and we are making strides to understand and minimize our impacts and reduce our operational Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions. We believe that natural gas and its associated infrastructure is, and will remain, a critical component of our nation’s energy strategy. We couple that belief with an awareness that working to reduce emissions associated with our operations is, and will remain, the right thing to do.

We learn more about climate change and its impacts every year, and Equitrans believes a sustainable future lies in our society’s ability, including that of natural gas infrastructure companies, to continuously do better in the area of GHG emissions. We have formed an internal multi-disciplinary climate working group to identify cost-effective methods to reduce methane emissions and emissions of other co-benefit pollutants. The working group is evaluating emissions-related data to better identify target areas for emissions reductions and to drive future reduction actions.

Equitrans works to accurately track and transparently report GHG emissions to allow external stakeholders to understand our climate performance. In late 2021, Equitrans completed an internal gap analysis against the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) to identify areas to better align with the requirements and recommendations in the GHG Protocol. As a result of this analysis, any changes to our GHG reporting, including the consolidation approach currently used, would be reflected in our 2023 sustainability report.

For Equitrans’ 2022 sustainability report, the GHG inventory is developed and reported in accordance with the GHG Protocol requirements, and the emissions presented in this report are disclosed following the operational control consolidation approach. This means that emissions from all assets the Company operates, regardless of who owns the assets, are included in the inventory. For example, while Equitrans owns a 60% interest in Eureka Midstream, 100% of emissions from the Eureka Midstream equipment are included in the inventory as the Company has operational control of the equipment.

Below are Equitrans’ Scope 1, 2, and 3 GHG emissions for 2019, 2020, and 2021 — with a summary of year-over-year comparisons as follows:

  • Scope 1 carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions increased due to increased fuel usage related to combustion
  • There was a decrease in methane emissions, primarily due to pneumatic device conversions and refined compressor blowdown calculations
  • Scope 2 emissions increased, primarily due to the addition of 14 new electricity accounts associated with the installation of rectifiers used for cathodic protection and connecting part of an existing station to the electric grid for the purchase of electricity, which is produced more efficiently versus using on-site generators
  • Scope 3 emissions remained primarily the same, with a slight reduction

Scope 1

Total Scope 1 Direct Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Metric Tons CO2e)1
Target
2,000,000
1,750,000
1,500,000
1,250,000
1,000,000
750,000
500,000
250,000
0

1,756,945

 

1,848,064

 

1,897,033

 
20192202022021

1) Includes 100% of the Eureka Midstream assets; excludes MVP, MVP Southgate, and OVCX projects

2) Based on further refinements in the Company’s data sources and inventory modifications, such as removing MVP emission sources, the 2019 and 2020 GHG emissions have been restated and are reflected in the above values

Scope 1 Direct Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Metric Tons CO2e)1

20192

20202

2021

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

1,459,449

1,564,772

1,648,310

Methane (CH4)

288,070

273,429

239,337

Nitrous Oxide (N2O)

805

855

880

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC)

8,621

9,008

8,506

Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs)

0

0

0

Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6)

0

0

0

Nitrogen Trifluoride (NF3)

0

0

0

Total

1,756,945

1,848,064

1,897,033

1) Includes 100% of the Eureka Midstream assets; excludes MVP, MVP Southgate, and OVCX projects

2) Based on further refinements in the Company’s data sources and inventory modifications, such as removing MVP emission sources, the 2019 and 2020 GHG emissions have been restated and are reflected in the above values

 

Scope 2

Total Scope 2 Indirect Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Metric Tons CO2e)1
Target
20,000
17,500
15,000
12,500
10,000
7,000
5,000
2,500
0

15,227

 

16,202

 

17,148

 
20192202022021

1) Includes 100% of the Eureka Midstream assets; excludes MVP, MVP Southgate, and OVCX projects

2) Based on further refinements in the Company’s data sources and inventory modifications, such as removing MVP emission sources, the 2019 and 2020 GHG emissions have been restated and are reflected in the above values

Scope 2 Indirect Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Metric Tons CO2e)1

20192

20202

2021

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

15,127

16,104

17,051

Methane (CH4)

42

42

42

Nitrous Oxide (N2O)

58

56

55

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC)

0

0

0

Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs)

0

0

0

Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6)

0

0

0

Nitrogen Trifluoride (NF3)

0

0

0

Total

15,227

16,202

17,148

1) Includes 100% of the Eureka Midstream assets; excludes MVP, MVP Southgate, and OVCX projects

2) Based on further refinements in the Company’s data sources and inventory modifications, such as removing MVP emission sources, the 2019 and 2020 GHG emissions have been restated and are reflected in the above values

 

Scope 3

Scope 3 Other Indirect Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Metric Tons CO2e)1
Target
225,000,000
200,000,000
175,000,000
150,000,000
125,000,000
100,000,000
75,000,000
50,000,000
25,000,000
0

217,258,189

 

213,435,736

 

213,084,785

 
20192202022021

1) Includes 100% of the Eureka Midstream assets; excludes MVP, MVP Southgate, and OVCX projects

2) Based on further refinements in the Company’s data sources and inventory modifications, including more accurate throughput accounting for 2019, the 2019 and 2020 GHG emissions have been restated and are reflected in the above values

Scope 3 Other Indirect Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Metric Tons CO2e)1

20192

20202

2021

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

216,941,271

213,152,740

212,802,149

Methane (CH4)

114,497

112,482

112,297

Nitrous Oxide (N2O)

108,363

106,456

106,281

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC)

64,058

64,058

64,058

Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs)

0

0

0

Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6)

0

0

0

Nitrogen Trifluoride (NF3)

0

0

0

Total3

217,258,189

213,435,736

213,084,785

1) Includes 100% of the Eureka Midstream assets; excludes MVP, MVP Southgate, and OVCX projects

2) Based on further refinements in the Company’s data sources and inventory modifications, including more accurate throughput accounting for 2019, the 2019 and 2020 GHG emissions have been restated and are reflected in the above values

3) Scope 3 emissions are other indirect emissions that occur in the value chain and include Categories 11 and 13. Our Category 11 emissions assume all gas delivered by Equitrans is combusted. Our Category 13 emissions include only refrigerant leaks from air conditioning units on leased buildings, as Equitrans does not have operational control of refrigeration systems at leased sites.

Additional Information Regarding Scope 3 Emissions:

Equitrans’ operations focus on natural gas transmission & storage and gathering systems, as well as water services that support natural gas production across the Appalachian Basin. Our primary responsibility is the transportation of our customers’ natural gas from Point A to Point B — meaning our customers produce and extract the natural gas and engage Equitrans to transport the gas to their customers. In general, Equitrans does not assume ownership or title to the natural gas it transports and does not have any relevant contractual relationships with downstream receivers of our customers’ natural gas. While our current Scope 3 emissions reporting reflects a good faith estimate of downstream emissions, based on publicly available information from downstream sources related to the use of natural gas transported by Equitrans — it is not yet clear whether such emissions are attributable to companies that transport these products. Certainly, Equitrans has other Scope 3 emissions attributable to our business and operations, such as employee commuting, leased vehicles, and business travel, and we expect to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of these emissions.

Equitrans is currently evaluating Scope 3 emissions under the Greenhouse Gas Protocol’s Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Accounting and Reporting Standard and is assessing the potential impact of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposed regulatory rules set forth in the Request for Public Comment on Proposed Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors (Release Nos. 33-11042; 34-94478; File No. S7-10-22 on March 21, 2022). We expect to complete our evaluation by year-end 2022.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Aspirations

Through the publishing of our Climate Policy in 2021, Equitrans announced its primary interim emission reduction targets and broader aspirations. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) specifies that the same quantity of methane has a more significant impact to climate change than an equivalent quantity of carbon dioxide. As the main component of the natural gas we transport, we recognize that methane emissions are one of Equitrans’ largest environmental impacts. Therefore, we are striving toward interim emission reduction targets of a 50% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 methane emissions by 2030, and a 50% reduction in total Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 2040. Further, we are aspiring toward a net zero Scope 1 and 2 carbon footprint by 2050.

We hold climate change as one of our top concerns, and we will continue to be transparent about our climate journey as we report our emissions to track against the reduction targets. As our efforts evolve, we commit to exploring, and embracing where appropriate, new technologies, innovative approaches, and collaborative partnerships to do our part in addressing climate change for the benefit of all.

 

Scope 1 & 2
Emissions Targets
50%
reduction in Methane by 2030
Scope 1 & 2
Emissions Targets
50%
reduction in Total GHG by 2040

 

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Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategies

 

Current Regulatory Requirements

The federal Clean Air Act governs and controls volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and, subsequently, methane. As of the date of this report, the overarching federal New Source Performance Standard, 40 CFR 60 Subparts OOOO and OOOOa (Quad Oa), are the only federal oil and gas-specific regulations relevant to our operations.

Quad Oa regulates many of Equitrans’ sites — potential affected sources can include reciprocating compressors, pneumatic controllers, storage vessels, and fugitive emission components at compression stations. Leak detection is performed for the entire site using a pre-determined walking path to ensure that all equipment is inspected. We have voluntarily expanded our leak detection program to include compression and dehydration sites that would otherwise not be subject to regulatory leak detection requirements. Other than Quad Oa, none of Equitrans’ GHG emissions are under emissions-limiting regulations, as of the date of this report, although additional federal and state legislation and regulations are proposed periodically. The effect of climate change legislation or regulation on the Company’s business is currently uncertain, although such matters could negatively affect the Company’s business depending on particular provisions that may be adopted.

The EPA mandates companies to report GHG emissions for each facility that emits 25,000 or more metric tons of CO2e each year. To satisfy this federal requirement, an annual report is submitted on facility-wide GHG emissions, which must be calculated following the EPA reporting rules detailed in 40 CFR 98 Subpart W. Equitrans identifies and reports emissions to the EPA for all of its facilities that emit 25,000 or more metric tons of CO2e.

State regulatory requirements regarding methane emissions are included in air permits from environmental agencies:

  • The state of Pennsylvania regulates compressor stations located in the state and requires a Pennsylvania General Permit (GP-5) for certain facilities. The GP-5 includes methane requirements and applies to compressor stations, processing plants, and transmission stations. Equitrans currently has 20 GP-5 permits.
  • The states of Ohio and West Virginia mandate the reporting of methane emissions, in addition to criteria air pollutants, to their respective state environmental agencies.

Equitrans’ Voluntary Reduction Efforts

In addition to complying with regulatory requirements, Equitrans is constantly seeking ways to voluntarily reduce our environmental footprint, and collaboration is key for making the most significant impact. As an energy infrastructure company, we recognize the ongoing developments and risks surrounding climate change, as well as corresponding potential opportunities. We must continue to focus on long-term sustainable performance — working to minimize impacts to the environment and society and aggressively pursuing climate change mitigation targets.

One of the main ways Equitrans reduces methane emissions is through our leak detection and repair (LDAR) team. The team looks for natural gas leaks using an infrared camera and, when found, acts quickly to repair any leaking components or areas. Equitrans documents all leaks and checks each repaired leak to ensure pipeline integrity.

Equitrans routinely schedules blowdowns or venting of accumulated gas not suitable for production. Before venting excess gas into the atmosphere, where possible, Equitrans first recycles the discharge gas at our compressor stations. To recycle the gas safely, Equitrans utilizes suction pressure. The pressure of suction is less than pipeline pressures, ensuring the discharge gas moves into compressors, rather than the atmosphere.

New compressor stations prevent natural gas from emitting into the atmosphere through pneumatic controllers that operate with instrument air systems rather than natural gas, to further limit GHG emissions. Older pneumatic controllers can bleed over six standard cubic feet of methane per hour. Equitrans proactively replaces old pneumatic controllers with newer, lower-emitting controllers to limit excess emissions.

Equitrans also practices “work stacking” as a method to reduce emissions by limiting the number of required station shutdowns. This process is the “stacking” of maintenance and outage activities that would typically require multiple blowdowns but are planned and executed concurrently to reduce the number of shutdowns.

Another method Equitrans utilizes to reduce emissions is hot tapping. This is the process of connecting new pipelines to pressurized pipelines while allowing gas to continue to flow during the procedure. Hot tapping allows gas to remain within the pipe, eliminating the need for the pipeline to be blown down and vent emissions to the atmosphere.

In 2021, we reinforced our commitment to environmental stewardship by including methane emissions reduction targets for pneumatic devices in the Companywide short-term incentive plan (STIP). The first methane mitigation projects identified by our climate working group involved converting pneumatics at compressor stations from natural gas to air-driven controllers, and replacing high-bleed pneumatic devices with more environmentally friendly, low- or intermittent-bleed controllers at additional locations that were not fully converted to air-driven systems. In total, approximately $6 million was invested at more than 25 locations to reduce methane emissions. The timely and safe execution of these projects required an extensive level of coordination and collaboration across the organization including project management, engineering, construction, operations, automation, land, safety, and environmental departments, as well as the climate working group.

To identify additional activities to reduce methane emissions, we participate in industry groups that strive to limit emissions such as the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America’s Methane Commitment and the American Petroleum Institute’s Environmental Partnership. Another group of which Equitrans is an active participant is the ONE Future Coalition, a group of natural gas companies whose aim is to reduce methane emissions intensity to one percent throughout a company’s value chain by 2025. Since joining the coalition in 2019, Equitrans has achieved a methane intensity below the ONE Future targets.

ONE Future Efforts — Equitrans’ Methane Intensity Calculation by Segment1

Gathering and Boosting
ONE Future Target 0.080%
Target
0.350
0.300
0.250
0.200
0.150
0.100
0.050
0

0.017%

 

0.015%

 

0.014%

 
201920202021
Transmission and Storage
ONE Future Target 0.301%
Target
0.350
0.300
0.250
0.200
0.150
0.100
0.050
0

0.012%

 

0.011%

 

0.007%

 
201920202021

 1) Includes 100% of the Eureka Midstream assets; excludes MVP, MVP Southgate, and OVCX projects

An employee is monitoring outdoor equipment gauges for clean, energy-efficient equipment.

Evaluating Our Emissions Performance

Over the years, Equitrans has continued to limit our emissions by updating equipment, employing best practices, and ensuring our equipment remains above industry standards. Equitrans takes part in multiple sector associations dedicated to lowering Company emissions and bettering our environmental footprint.

We developed our 2019 baseline for Scope 1, 2, and 3 GHG emissions with the expectation of using this baseline as the starting point to evidence future emission reductions. Any changes to this baseline will be made in accordance with the GHG Protocol.

The actions taken to reduce methane emissions (as described above) were implemented during 2021, with the last of the changes being completed in the fourth quarter. The emissions reductions associated with these changes will not be fully realized until the end of 2022, at which time all new equipment will have been operational for more than one full year. The conversion of certain pneumatic controllers (to either air-driven or low-bleed devices) across Equitrans’ operations in 2021 is expected to result in an annualized reduction of approximately 1,200 metric tons of methane. In subsequent years, Equitrans expects to report its ongoing progress toward our 2030 Scope 1 and Scope 2 methane reduction target.

As stated earlier, in 2021, there was a decrease in methane emissions, primarily due to pneumatic device conversions and refined compressor blowdown calculations. In addition, there was a small decrease in methane intensity, primarily due to this decrease in methane emissions. While progress was made in reducing methane emissions from pneumatic devices, they remain one of the largest sources of the Company’s methane emissions. Equitrans plans to invest in further pneumatic reductions in 2022 to continue to reduce emissions from this source category.

Scope 1 Methane Emissions and Intensity Rate

Methane Emissions (Metric Tons)1
Target
10,000
9,000
8,000
7,000
6,000
5,000
4,000
3,000
2,000
1,000
0

10,288

 

9,765

 

8,548

 
20192202022021
Methane Intensity Rate (Tons/MMscf)1
Target
0.0035
0.0030
0.0025
0.0020
0.0015
0.0010
0.0005
0

0.0026

 

0.0025

 

0.0022

 
20192202022021

1) Includes 100% of the Eureka Midstream assets; excludes MVP, MVP Southgate, and OVCX projects

2) Based on further refinements in the Company’s data sources and inventory modifications, such as removing MVP emission sources, the 2019 and 2020 GHG emissions have been restated and are reflected in the above values
 

2021 Methane Emissions Breakdown by Equipment Source (CH4 Metric Tons/Year)1
Pneumatics
2,381
Blowdowns
2,101
Pipeline Leaks
1,827
Dehydrators
874
Tanks
491
Compressor Venting
395
Pigging
211
Fugitives
156
Storage
81
Engines
27
Heaters/Reboilers
1.4
Other Sources (below one metric ton)
0.33

1) Includes 100% of the Eureka Midstream assets; excludes MVP, MVP Southgate, and OVCX projects

Highlight Story

Philanthropy and Volunteerism

Equitrans Midstream supports the development of a sustainable workforce, which we believe is a key element for the long-term success of our Company and our communities. Preparing local students to compete in the workforce is a funding priority of the Equitrans Midstream Foundation — connecting students now with the tools they need to make positive social and economic contributions in the future. Through our E-Train On-Track committee, we also support employee volunteerism and encourage employees to donate their time in support of community-based educational initiatives. 

The Education Partnership is a local non-profit organization that distributes school and classroom supplies at no cost to students and teachers in need. When the organization approached us with an opportunity to provide assistance and support for Pennsylvania schools, ranging from pre-K through grade 12, we enthusiastically volunteered both our funding and time. In 2021, through a $32,000 grant to The Education Partnership’s Adopt-a-School program, the Equitrans Midstream Foundation purchased essential school supplies for students in three southwestern Pennsylvania schools. Using our Volunteer Paid-Time-Off Program, these funds were amplified by Equitrans employees who volunteered their time to assemble more than 1,230 Power Tools Homework Kits for distribution to the students. A team of employees then attended assemblies at one of the participating high schools to conduct mini-educational sessions to discuss jobs and careers in the energy industry.

During the past two years, the Foundation has awarded $50,000 to The Education Partnership. By combining proposed funding opportunities with employee volunteerism, Equitrans can provide a greater level of community support, while at the same time encouraging employee involvement and increasing overall engagement. Our work with The Education Partnership is one example of Equitrans’ commitment to the communities in which we live and work — delivering positive impacts through both financial support and employee volunteerism. 

Highlight Story

Protecting Our Critical Energy Infrastructure

With cyber-attacks on the rise in nearly every industry sector, including those related to oil/gas pipelines, there is a heightened need for teamwork and collaboration to protect our nation’s energy infrastructure. We recognize the important joint efforts of pipeline operators, government agencies, vendors, and industry groups in developing solutions to combat the complex challenges of an ever-changing cybersecurity landscape. The formation of this alliance is based on a common goal: keeping our critical infrastructure safe, secure, and reliable.

To ensure adequate resources and elevate the criticality of our industry’s cyber initiatives, Chief Executive Officers and Chief Information Officers from our nation’s major pipeline operators, as well as top leaders from various government agencies are aligned on this priority. In addition, with this level of attention and focus on cybersecurity, responsibility has gone beyond Information Technology personnel. To be truly effective, cybersecurity requires multi-disciplinary leadership involvement from other business functions, such as physical security, emergency management, facilities, legal, and supply chain.

As a natural gas pipeline operator, Equitrans Midstream transports roughly 10% of U.S. natural gas production every day, making it critical for us to know and understand the latest threat intelligence. With the knowledge gained through these industry and government relationships, we are better prepared to implement leading practices designed to counter evolving attack vectors.

At Equitrans Midstream, we believe forming a cybersecurity partnership has helped raise the security bar across the industry, resulting in a collective benefit that is beyond what any individual pipeline operator could achieve. By working together on cybersecurity initiatives, we are striving to make the natural gas pipeline sector more secure, while at the same time continuing to provide the critical energy resources on which our nation relies.

     – Carmine Fantini, CIO, Equitrans Midstream

The continued evolution of cybersecurity threats demands a holistic response from industry, government, and suppliers. Equitrans recognizes this reality, and we work diligently every day to enhance our strong public/private sector alliance — strengthening our capabilities to protect our critical energy infrastructure.

Highlight Story

Distracted Driving Awareness

Distracted driving is an important safety issue — whether we are traveling for work or transporting friends and family during our personal time. The tragic results of distracted driving can happen to any one of us, anywhere, and at any time. Furthermore, these distractions come in many forms and can be caused by a number of factors, such as driving while using a communications device, tending to others who are in the vehicle, using your vehicle’s audio system, or simply observing scenery as we pass it on the road. 

 In response to an increase in preventable vehicle accidents in 2020, Equitrans’ safety team created a Safe Driving Stand-Up, whereby supervisors were tasked with encouraging their teams to focus on changing their driving behaviors to better ensure everyone’s safety. In 2021, we placed additional emphasis on vehicle driving safety through our Companywide Distracted Driving Awareness initiative, which included encouraging employees to sign a distracted driving pledge as a symbol of their commitment to drive safely, be in the moment, and remain focused on the task-at-hand.

With more than 500 employees in attendance, Equitrans’ Distracted Driving Awareness campaign kicked off with a presentation by Joel Feldman, renowned distracted driver speaker. Mr. Feldman is an attorney from Philadelphia who, despite representing those impacted by distracted driving crashes, frequently drove distracted himself. Following the death of his daughter in an accident caused by a distracted driver, he changed the way he drives and the way he thinks about driving safety. In 2011, he founded EndDD.org (End Distracted Driving) and spends the majority of his professional time working to educate people about this issue — with the goal to reduce distracted driving incidents of all kinds.

Mr. Feldman shared some very powerful and personal messaging, along with several important reminders that focused on how to change driving behaviors to better ensure one’s personal safety, the safety of their passengers, as well as the safety of everyone on the road. In addition, the Equitrans Midstream Foundation expanded these important safe driving messages by partnering with EndDD to bring Mr. Feldman’s presentation to four local high schools in our Pennsylvania operating area.

In 2022, our Foundation is pleased to continue its partnership with EndDD by supporting the creation of a nationwide public service campaign geared toward preventing distracted driving among high school students.

Equitrans believes that having a safe-driving mindset should extend beyond the workplace, and we want our employees to be equipped to prevent distractions while driving for both work and personal travel. With safety as our top priority and number one Core Value, the more we share the importance of learning how to NOT DRIVE DISTRACTED, the safer all of us will be.

Highlight Story

Culture Change Belongs to All of Us

Our goal is to create a workforce culture that is not only aligned with our values, but also inspires employees to be their best selves. Based on the findings of our initial culture assessment conducted in 2020, we implemented several culture enhancing initiatives that were aligned with our mission, vision, and strategy — including redesigning our employee recognition program, introducing 360-degree management assessments and coaching, and launching an on-demand learning platform.

In 2021, we conducted our second culture survey, which had a 78% participation rate and highlighted significant, double-digit percentile increases across all 48 culture survey questions. In conjunction with our Culture Champions Group, we attribute these culture score improvements to the many action items we implemented since conducting our previous assessment.

The survey platform we utilize measures organizations across four areas: Mission, Consistency, Involvement, and Adaptability. While we were encouraged by the results, we also recognize there are areas that require continued focus to improve our culture. Below are a few key highlights from our recent survey:

Leveraging Our Strengths

  • We are very strong in the areas of teamwork and agreement — illustrating strong coordination across departments, the elimination of silos, and alignment with our Core Values, which highlights a strong sense of right and wrong.
  • We had positive shifts in how we use our Core Values to guide our decisions & the perceptions of leaders who demonstrate these values.
  • We scored near the 95th percentile on most of the safety aspects, something we are very proud of as we continue to elevate our strong safety culture.

Taking Action

Based on the opportunities for improvement, we are implementing several action items that are linked to three primary focus areas:

  • Customer Focus: The best way to define Customer Focus is with a question — “When we get a request from a fellow employee, do we treat that request as if it came from a customer?” The success of our Company depends on all employees — from maintaining safe operations, ensuring system reliability, and designing system enhancements to closing our books, scheduling projects, running payroll, and managing our legal and regulatory concerns. As we strive to be a reliable partner inside and out, in 2022 we added customer service to our Core Value of Collaboration; and we are implementing initiatives to improve our internal customer service and ensure the timely exchange of information requests.
  • Strategic Direction & Intent: Employees understand the importance of connecting the dots between our strategy and their day-to-day work. Based on survey feedback, we will continue to publish our quarterly Strategic Priorities Update and schedule all-employee meetings to communicate progress on our Company’s annual priorities and objectives, which helps employees to align their individual objectives. Achieving our Company goals takes teamwork, collaboration, and individual contributions by everyone.
  • Capability Development: As people leaders, we want to take a more active role in the development of our employees, helping them to understand and explore opportunities for advancement. To support our managers, we rolled out training during 2022 to assist managers in having effective career conversations with employees, encouraging an open dialogue on opportunities for growth and skill development. We also updated our Core Value of Excellence to include employee capability development — reinforcing the importance of helping to improve the capabilities of our employees as a competitive advantage. 

At Equitrans, culture change belongs to all of us, and each employee plays a vital role in achieving our vision of becoming the premier midstream company in North America. Our employees’ continued commitment to E-Train’s success is demonstrated by staying the course — effectively managing our business and running our operations safely, efficiently, and responsibly.

Highlight Story

Storage Integrity Management

To fulfill specific regulatory obligations by government agencies, Equitrans conducts annual audits and inspections required by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and respective state agencies that oversee pipelines and related facilities. To reinforce the importance of public safety, in recent years PHMSA has conducted focused audits on Storage Integrity Management programs. These very intense, detailed audits emphasize both public safety and the environmental impacts of storage methane release. Among other benefits to the industry, this level of scrutiny provides an opportunity for natural gas pipeline operators to review, improve, and strengthen their programs.

Under PHMSA’s direction, Equitrans conducted numerous storage audits from 2018 through 2021 to gauge the strength of our Storage Integrity Management Plan (SIMP) and its adherence to published code. While there were no penalties assessed as a result of these audit activities, Equitrans did receive varying degrees of citations (i.e., Letters of Concern, Warning Letters, and Notices of Amendment) that required us to update our plans, policies, and procedures to enhance our SIMP.

In addition to addressing all cited deficiencies to improve the SIMP, Equitrans instituted the following enhancements to its storage operations:

  • Mitigation of risk by increasing the frequency of well-surveillance logging to every seven years, versus the previous schedule of every 15 years
  • Utilization of Remote Terminal Units on storage wells for 24-hour monitoring by gas control
  • Development and implementation of storage-specific procedures to standardize storage maintenance and operations activities across the Company
  • Dedicating personnel trained specifically for storage operations

As with all of Equitrans’ pipeline integrity programs, our primary focus is on safety — above all else — for our communities, employees, and pipeline facilities. The continued and enhanced safe operation of our storage assets is merely an extension of Equitrans’ overall commitment to safety.

Highlight Story

Workplace Modernization

Recognizing the potential benefits of a flexible work model, Equitrans conducted a workplace modernization survey in June 2020, whereby office-based employees were asked to rank their workplace preferences based on a set of three “workplace personas” (anchor, flex, and remote). The next step in the process was for managers to review all positions in their departments and assign a workplace persona, or personas, to each position, based on the defined requirements of role. The final step was for employees to select their workplace persona based on the persona(s) assigned to their role.

Our workplace modernization activities, however, did not end there. As we and other companies prepared for the new normal of a larger remote workforce, E-Train recognized there would be concerns to address and conflicts to resolve — and our goal was to ensure a smooth transition as overall workplace plans were finalized. To replace our previous Telecommuting Policy, we implemented a new Workplace Modernization Policy, which includes topics such as workplace persona guidelines, relocation approval process, business travel expense protocol, and how to formally request a workplace persona assignment change.

Additionally, to assist our employees with changes related to our return-to-office (RTO), we communicated workspace scheduling information and general tax expectations (for remote employees), and created two RTO Guides:

  • The RTO Guide for Managers was intended to help managers prepare for working with their teams in the new era of a “distributed environment.” The guide contains key details for managing successfully in a distributed environment, including tips for utilizing shared workspaces; how to determine when it may be most effective for a manager and their team to work in the office; and how a manager can partner with their team to establish best practices and facilitate a collaborative and engaging working environment — ensuring continued performance in line with our Core Value of Excellence. Managers were asked to maintain an inclusive, forward-thinking environment that values the person as a whole instead of focusing on only the work that they produce and were reminded to always place safety first.
  • The RTO Guide for Employees contained FAQs about workplace personas; tips and recommended etiquette for working in a shared workspace; how to determine when it may be most effective to work in the office; best practices to ensure success; and the importance of keeping safety our top priority.

With the reopening of our offices in April 2022, roughly 61% of office-based employees are working remotely (remote persona), 37% split their time between remote and at an Equitrans location (flex persona), and 2% are working in the office full-time (anchor persona). We expect our workplace modernization model to improve employee satisfaction and retention, expand our talent pool, and create additional flexibility for our employees, while promoting continued business execution.  

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Emergency Response and Preparedness

In August 2021, flammable vapors from a tank vent ignited during a late afternoon electrical storm at the Equitrans Twilight Compressor Station, a natural gas gathering facility located in Washington County, Pennsylvania. Upon notification of the incident, the Equitrans crisis team quickly convened — no injuries were reported, and no significant damage occurred. 

As part of our response, Equitrans technicians were immediately dispatched and, once on site, began to implement necessary safety procedures, including the closing of appropriate valves to isolate the tank. In addition, the local volunteer fire department was on site to assist with appropriate fire safety protocols.

Equitrans’ emergency procedures and closing of valves successfully allowed the flame to self-extinguish, and within a short time the tank was fully isolated. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection was notified, and, as a courtesy, local township officials and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission received notification of the incident.

Working together with the crisis team, our operations, safety, and compliance teams determined that the ignition occurred as a result of a lightning strike that ignited vapors from a malfunctioning tank vent. After reviewing and understanding the cause of the incident, operations worked with engineering to identify and inspect similar tank vents, as well as tank grounding, to minimize the risk of similar incidents from occurring in the future.

For more information on Equitrans Emergency Response and Preparedness, please visit: Public Safety and Emergency Response.

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