Pipeline Safety and Integrity

At Equitrans, we continually work to safeguard our pipelines and protect their operational integrity. We are committed to utilizing the best environmental practices throughout all aspects of our operations, and we make every effort to meet or exceed all applicable compliance regulations. Our commitment to compliance not only makes financial sense, but also serves as a key tenant of our corporate culture. 

A close-up shot of an Equitrans site has large intertwined white pipelines.Our Approach to Pipeline Safety and Integrity

Compliance with laws and regulations

Explanation of the material topic and its Boundary

Operations with significant actual and potential negative impacts on local communities

Assessment of the health and safety impacts of product and service categories 

Incidents of non-compliance concerning the health and safety impacts of products and services

Total amount of monetary losses as a result of legal proceedings associated with federal pipeline and storage regulations

Number of reportable pipeline incidents, percentage significant

Percentage of (1) natural gas and (2) hazardous liquid pipelines inspected

Discussion of management systems used to integrate a culture of safety and emergency preparedness throughout the value chain and throughout project lifecycles


At Equitrans, the functionality and safety of our pipelines is crucial to our business values and success. The primary goal of our pipeline safety practices is to protect our employees, contractors, and the local communities where we live and operate. Our pipelines are operated, maintained, and repaired in accordance with current U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations and industry standards for safe pipeline operations, including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Gas Transmission and Distribution Piping Systems Standard and the American Petroleum Institute’s Recommended Practices 80 for Onshore Gas Gathering Lines. We adhere to federal gas transmission pipeline integrity regulations (DOT 192, subpart O) and regularly complete public safety assessments, such as pipeline encroachment and leak surveys, confirmation excavations, and materials testing to ensure asset integrity on both high-pressure gathering and transmission assets. As we strive to exceed regulations, these supplemental assessments, while not always required by federal or state government agencies on non-jurisdictional assets, are an important part of our safety culture.

An Equitrans employee is wearing PPE inspecting a pipeline.

Additionally, a congressional methane mandate was issued to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) in 2021 to require pipeline operators to update policies, plans, and procedures to include mechanisms and work procedures that document how methane is being mitigated across our system. This industrywide requirement is above and beyond the rules set forth by traditional environmental regulators.

Equitrans is committed to working with our agencies to embed our environmentally conscious practices into pipeline safety documentation. In 2021, we proactively invested approximately $3.1 million in related pipeline safety initiatives and $1.59 million in corrosion prevention activities. The 2021 compliance budget was increased by approximately $500,000 due to the incorporation of storage integrity management. In addition to traditional in-line inspection and corrosion activities, the budget now accounts for an accelerated well-logging schedule, risk management of storage wells, additional PHMSA audits and inspections, and well remediation costs. 

As a result of our continued commitment to meeting and exceeding compliance requirements, we strive to manage the risk and probability of a serious pipeline or storage incident to better protect our workers and local communities. Additionally, we have developed our own detailed internal safety procedures for pipeline design, construction, operation, and maintenance. During these lifecycle phases, we proactively integrate preventive measures to enhance the safety of our employees, contractors, and community members.

Lifecycle Phases


During a pipeline’s design phase, we take every opportunity to embed safety practices. This process starts with extensively evaluating applicable federal, state, and local regulations and then adapting the design components and procedures to meet those regulations. When designing, we also ensure the pipeline and its supporting infrastructure are consistent with industry standards and best practices for asset safety, efficiency, and reliability.

We also incorporate external factors in the design phase, as the pipeline itself is not our sole focus. Equitrans proactively optimizes a pipeline’s route to avoid, wherever possible, sensitive environmental and cultural areas, as well as unforeseen impacts to local communities.

An excavator fills in soil on top of an installed pipeline.


Throughout a pipeline’s construction, it is critical that we make every effort to confirm that the pipeline is properly constructed and installed in accordance with our high compliance standards. To do this, we inspect all activities both during construction and upon completion to verify the safety and integrity of the pipeline and to ensure proper installation procedures were utilized. One crucial aspect of this inspection process is the examination of welds to confirm their integrity before the pipeline is operational.

Last, before a pipeline is approved and placed into service, we extensively assess the asset to confirm its fitness for service. We test by using regulatorily accepted integrity checks prior to the introduction of gas into the pipeline, including hydrostatic pressure tests and pipe geometry inspections (e.g., pigging) to check for dents and ovality. When applicable, cathodic protection and voltage gradient surveys are also utilized to confirm the effectiveness of corrosion protection systems.

Excavators are lowering an assembled pipeline into a trench at a construction site.


Equitrans’ priority is maintaining pipeline safety and functionality throughout its entire operation. To ensure this, we monitor pipelines and supporting assets while operating to detect any pipe shifts or potential disturbances. Employees in our state-of-the-art Gas Control Center control, monitor, and analyze our pipelines’ natural gas flow 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Center enables us to quickly identify and respond to any potential issues that may arise, and resolve those issues as soon and as safely as possible.

Equitrans mitigates the risk of corrosion on a pipeline through industry-standard cathodic protection system maintenance, which applies impressed electrical current to the pipeline to inhibit corrosion on our assets. This is accomplished by installing sacrificial anodes and ground beds along the pipeline route, which are designed to corrode at known rates, in lieu of the pipeline. Other corrosion prevention strategies we deploy include routine sampling to quickly identify if corrosion is occurring, as well as flow controls to limit excessive gas velocities within the pipeline, which can often contribute to erosion of the pipe.

Our landslide management program outlines landslide inspection frequency and response time following weather-related events to help ensure that pipeline integrity concerns are discovered and addressed in a timely manner. Equitrans’ engineering team monitors rainfall data and freeze/thaw cycles in our operating areas to ensure adequate pipeline inspections are being conducted to determine impacts of known slides on our pipeline systems. Semi-annually, Equitrans conducts light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data collection on the majority of our pipeline systems to determine any new slides that may have occurred on the pipeline rights-of-way (ROW). Additionally, for any pipeline that is suspected to have been subject to movement, we perform a strain analysis and develop a monitoring plan, which may include baseline surveys, staking, and subsequent drone monitoring to track any shifting of the pipe.

Another important strategy we leverage to evaluate pipeline safety is maintaining pipeline right-of-way (ROW). In addition to routine, on-the-ground safety inspections, it is important to keep the ROW open and clear to easily conduct aerial safety patrols using helicopters and drones. When our Gas Control Center or inspections teams identify a safety or maintenance concern, we act swiftly to remediate it. Our internal operations and maintenance program teams work together to promptly mitigate and resolve any issues to ensure the integrity and longevity of our operational assets.

An Equitrans employee inspects small pipes and gauges in a designated equipment space.

Integrity Management

The preparation for and mitigation of a potential pipeline issue are vital to ensuring operations are safe, and we have strategies in place to execute this plan. Equitrans’ compliance, corrosion, and technical training departments (pipeline integrity) and field operations team’s primary responsibilities focus on managing pipeline integrity. The groups evaluate and maintain standard operating policies, procedures, and pipeline construction records. The pipeline integrity department and field operations team oversee the Operator Qualification Program and other relevant trainings for employees and contractors, which empower workers to identify and mitigate potential pipeline integrity risks.

Additionally, the groups utilize industry-accepted formulas on pipeline characteristics to identify high-consequence areas that have a potential to affect local populations, buildings, and land near the pipeline route. The teams also utilize a GIS-based (Geographic Information System) risk model to implement strategies to improve the health of the system. Equitrans’ pipeline integrity group also evaluates corrosion, participates in government audits, performs internal audits, and reviews pressure tests when applicable.

To fulfill specific regulatory obligations by government agencies, Equitrans conducts annual audits and inspections required by PHMSA and state pipeline safety agencies. In recent years, PHMSA has conducted focused audits on Storage Integrity Management programs due to prior industry incidents. These very intense, detailed audits emphasize both public safety and environmental impacts of storage methane release. 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. In 2021, the Integrity Team addressed all cited deficiencies to improve the SIMP, and instituted the following enhancements to storage operations:

  • Mitigation of risk by changing the frequencies of well surveillance logging from every 15 years to every seven 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

To date, Equitrans has remediated all known bare steel transmission pipelines with coated steel pipe to increase integrity and reduce incident risks. Bare steel lacks a protective coating, making the steel more sensitive to environmental impacts, such as corrosion, and requires constant maintenance and assessments to ensure the pipelines remain in good working order. Coated steel has a protective outer layer which makes the pipe more durable, while also requiring less maintenance and increasing cost effectiveness over the long term.

Pipeline Security

Ensuring the safety and integrity of our pipelines also requires that we stay informed of security-related risks and act diligently to reduce these risks as well as any potential dangers. We safeguard our assets through meticulous security planning and on-site strategies including fences, building locks, electronic monitoring, and continuous surveillance. For more information, see the Security and Cybersecurity section of this report.

Slip Prevention Plan

Slips occur when land shifts from a stable to an unstable condition, which could potentially affect the integrity of our pipe. An unstable condition is caused by environmental disturbances, such as soil erosion or excessive rainfall or snowmelt, loosening the soil either underground or on top of our pipelines. Prior to commencing construction, Equitrans analyzes the proposed pipeline site with ground and aerial surveys, historical landslide mapping, and soil maps to identify landslide-prone soils — all of which help to minimize the risk of slippage and environment disturbance.

Once in the operational phase, we utilize ground surveys, drones, GIS, and data analysis to monitor soil movement and identify pipeline slips, and our compliance team conducts aerial surveys bi-annually. Engineering teams identify areas where slip risks occur along our pipelines and notifies our compliance and operations teams of the risk severity. If a site is determined to have a high risk of slippage, our engineering team will conduct on-site surveys and, when necessary, implement measures to ensure our pipelines remain stable.


Managing Releases

Our mitigation procedures and measurements are designed to ensure safety in the event of a pipeline spill or leak. If a pipeline spill or leak occurs, we work diligently to quickly detect its location, take action to repair it, and remediate any damage.

Our pipeline integrity team conducts regular inspections of our pipelines to ensure their integrity and identify any potential spills and leaks. In 2021, 16.4% of our natural gas transmission pipelines were inspected per 49 CFR 192 Subpart O requirements for High Consequence Areas (HCA).  Further, Equitrans routinely inspects additional miles of non-jurisdictional pipelines, which are not regulated by the DOT, with industry-leading technologies to reduce the overall risk to our communities, stakeholders, and employees. If any areas of concern are identified during inspections, we take immediate action to make repairs and enhancements to maintain integrity of the asset and ensure regulatory compliance.

When a leak occurs, Equitrans properly reports all releases in line with state and federal regulations. We track all releases that occur and gather data to identify any trends and long-term items of concern that could require technical solutions from our engineering team.

Natural Gas Incidents1




Number of Reportable Incidents2




Volume of Reportable Releases (MCF)2




Percentage Reportable Incidents That Were Significant3




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

2) Reportable releases are defined based on the Department of Transportation requirements in 49 CFR 191.3

3) An incident is considered significant, if it resulted in: fatality or injury requiring in-patient hospitalization; $50,000 or more in total costs, measured in 1984 U.S. dollars; highly volatile liquid releases of 5 bbls or more or other liquid releases of 50 barrels or more; or liquid releases resulting in an unintentional fire or explosion

4) In 2020, two releases with an unintentional estimated gas loss of three million cubic feet or more were incorrectly classified as reportable; the releases have been restated as not reportable as they occurred at non-jurisdictional facilities

Equitrans regularly evaluates our processes to limit leaks and releases from our operations. We look for areas to improve and learn from past projects to better mitigate the risk of future leaks. We track data for all leaks and releases at each of our stations and along all of our pipeline assets, and our operations team periodically reviews our data to identify patterns and implement solutions to mitigate and avoid future impacts. This process involves a proactive and regimented aerial and foot patrol program following U.S. DOT guidelines.

Managing Compliance

In alignment with our commitment to meet or exceed compliance regulations, it is our goal to always be transparent when interacting with local, state, and federal authorities. We routinely track and evaluate all emerging and changing regulations and permit requirements that may impact Equitrans’ business and operations. Where appropriate, we actively submit comments based on our evaluations of proposed regulations, as a Company or through the industry trade groups of which we are members.

Equitrans believes it is equally important to be transparent when we do not live up to our expectations, and especially so when we fall short of federal, state, or local requirements for pipeline safety and integrity, and environmental compliance. As a responsible company, Equitrans responds to all agency notifications to keep a record of our due diligence and commitment to compliance. As an additional means of responsibility and to ensure transparency, in early 2021 we implemented our Notices of Violation (NOV) Tracker to publicly disclose Equitrans’ formal notices of non-compliance and violations. The tracker, which is routinely updated and published on the Sustainability page of our website, summarizes our compliance data and allows us to be measured not just by the words we use, but by the actions we take. The NOV Tracker includes Pipeline Safety Enforcement Actions, which include NOVs, Notices of Amendment and Warning Letters from state utility commissions and the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

It is important to note that all agency audits are not equal and can range in duration from a few days to several weeks — with operators potentially receiving multiple citations in a single audit, depending upon the type of deficiencies identified. Additionally, as newly implemented regulations continue to mature, it is not uncommon to receive citations of lesser severity (i.e., Letter of Concern, Warning Letter, or Notice of Amendment). These types of enforcements are typically non-punitive in nature and are utilized by the agencies to create an awareness and opportunity for the operator to update policies, plans, and procedures to more accurately align with regulations.

As shown in the table below, there has been a steady increase in the number of scheduled audits, which is a direct correlation to the increase in enforcement actions. The post-audit interaction between agencies and operators is also changing, with the process now including formal documentation of written findings and improvement opportunities prior to the issuance of an enforcement action. Our pipeline integrity and compliance department strives to achieve zero enforcement actions by any agency and welcomes these opportunities for continuous improvement.

Pipeline Safety Actions1




Scheduled Agency Audits




Enforcement Actions




Penalties Paid Associated With Enforcement Actions




Total Monetary Losses From Legal Proceedings Associated With Federal Pipeline and Storage Regulations




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

Two Equitrans employees are wearing PPE inspecting a gauge connected to an above-ground pipeline.

Maintaining Pipeline Safety and Integrity

Equitrans utilizes a range of risk mitigation strategies as part of our pipeline asset management operations. In addition to strict adherence to all federal regulations, we require that non-destructive tests (NDT) be performed on all pipeline welds to ensure they meet industry requirements for acceptability. On large projects, we hire NDT auditors as supplemental oversight for additional review and verification. Every welder performing work on our pipelines must hold an Equitrans welder certification to ensure welding follows our procedures and best practices. Completed pipelines are hydrostatically tested significantly above the normal operating pressure to ensure integrity of all components. Data logging software is utilized to record critical data points during testing; this information is reviewed by our engineering team to verify testing meets all specifications and requirements. In 2021, Equitrans installed eight remote terminal devices at our storage facilities to enhance our real-time data gathering capabilities. These electronic devices send hardware data to our operational control systems every three to five minutes.

Additionally, our inspectors verify that contractors building our pipelines have qualified workers who  follow our Design and Construction Manual and other procedures. While many of our inspectors possess industry-recognized certifications for their crafts, Equitrans’ inspectors are required to complete in-house training on our Company’s specifications to ensure pipeline construction meets both our standards, as well as those of the federal government. These training modules educate inspectors on Equitrans’ best practices and required procedures for pipeline inspections. In addition to focused training efforts, inspectors are routinely audited in the field to ensure projects are being completed following Company and applicable regulatory requirements.

In 2021, Equitrans continued evaluating the requirements of PHMSA’s Mega Rule and began to incorporate changes in inspections, along with other actions, to prepare for the additional provisions as outlined in the Rule. Through three main elements, the Mega Rule was designed to improve pipeline safety and better prepare emergency responders for incidents by:

  • Intensifying risk assessment and maximum allowable operating pressure requirements
  • Expanding integrity management program regulations to gathering lines and other previously non-regulated lines
  • Increasing reporting requirements and safety regulations
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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.

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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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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. 

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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 (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.

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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.

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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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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.

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