Governance

Security and Cybersecurity

To ensure safety and business continuity, Equitrans recognizes the importance of security, particularly for our pipeline assets, compressor facilities, and project sites. In addition, cybersecurity is a core component of Equitrans’ digital transformation, and our cyber philosophy begins, but does not end, with compliance. We build our capabilities based on relevant industry standards and continually review our progress to effectively enhance our cybersecurity capabilities.

Elevating Our Security and Cybersecurity Protocols

2-24
Embedding policy commitments

3-3
Management of material topics

410-1
11.18.2
Formal training on safety and security practices

2-24
3-3
410-1

Equitrans recognizes the critical importance of safeguarding our physical infrastructure assets and securing our informational resources and intellectual property. Today, more than ever, there are growing concerns related to the ability of an organization to protect its physical assets, as well as its critical technology assets, requiring companies to display incredible resilience in an ever-changing world.

As outlined in the Company’s Security Guidelines, Equitrans is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for all employees, customers, suppliers, vendors, and guests. These guidelines, available for employee access and reference on Equitrans’ intranet, are intended to create a consistent approach to protect people, assets, and information while mitigating risks to Equitrans. The Company’s guidelines are not intended to supersede government statutes or regulations and are updated as needed to support the needs of our business and operations.

 

Our Approach to Physical Security

From both a safety and business continuity perspective, it is crucial that we utilize stringent security measures for our pipeline assets, compressor facilities, and project sites. Trespassing and vandalism by those opposed to the fossil fuel industry can damage or destroy assets; create safety risks and hazards for our employees, contractors, and communities; and impact our ability to deliver natural gas to our customers. The disruption of natural gas delivery for our customers can impact consumers, businesses, and manufacturing facilities.

Equitrans works closely with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to ensure our enterprise abides by all federal security regulations, and we continually optimize our security strategies and plans. Our Security Team implements a wide range of security measures including:

  • Site Support: In the event of an emergency or physical security threat, our security team supports site work by providing employees field encampment equipment, such as shelter, food, water, and portable bathroom facilities.
  • Mobile Surveillance: Our security team oversees potential security threats by monitoring mobile surveillance, including security cameras and drones. When our security team detects a threat, team members evaluate potential risks, or the extent of the incident, and deploys proper mitigation strategies.
  • Physical Security: We use barriers and other physical security measures, such as locks, fencing, and barbed wire, to prevent facility tampering and trespassing.
  • Security Personnel: The security team deploys static and roving security guards to provide physical security at our critical sites and in areas where they detect security threats. The security team also works with local law enforcement to protect sites and respond to threats.
  • Drone Support: Our security team utilizes trained and licensed drone pilots to conduct aerial security surveillance. Our drone teams support additional operational needs, such as land surveys and data gathering.

Security Training

Equitrans contracts all security guards from a third-party security vendor. Our security guards receive safety and security training from their employers, and we also provide all of our security team members and third-party security personnel with formal security training and information on Equitrans-specific security standards. Additionally, in early 2023, Equitrans launched mandatory training sessions for all employees on the topic of environmental justice and human rights. These sessions are available to Equitrans’ third-party security vendors and contractors, as requested.

Prior to starting work at any site, security guards are required to attend a comprehensive security training session to identify and be familiar with any site-specific hazards or risks, with the type of training dependent upon the specified operating location and the conditions on the ground. Our training program includes the following concepts:

  • Pipeline Security: How to protect our pipelines from trespassers, physical threats, and disruptions
  • Law Enforcement: How and when to involve law enforcement agencies
  • Crisis Events: How to respond to a crisis or emergency on or near a project site
  • Field Sabotage: How to detect sabotage efforts that could affect pipeline integrity

100% of our security personnel receive formal training on Equitrans’ safety and security practices.

We also train guards on the legal requirements and technical use of body cameras, as well as techniques for effective and safe protest management. Many of our guards also have specialized executive protection training and routinely receive updated training on trespassing and specific instructions for protecting Company vehicles stored in Company parking lots. In early 2022, we implemented Standard Operating Procedures to deploy drone aircraft for safety overwatch in contentious areas. This new feature to our security program is expected to result in cost savings and enhance our ability to rapidly collect information.

At our operational facilities, our security guards increase overall safety and minimize the risk of serious incidents by providing direct oversight and immediate response to potential incidents involving opponents. In the event of a dangerous incident, Equitrans’ security team works to safely evacuate work crews and initiates assistance from law enforcement, if needed.

 

Asset and Operations Security

The security of our pipelines and facilities is integral to national and economic security and the success of our operations. Ensuring we are safeguarding our assets also reduces risks of environmental incidents and potential safety hazards. We protect our assets with fences, building locks, electronic monitoring, and 24/7 surveillance at many of our sites, and for pipelines and compressor stations that are in operation, Equitrans continuously gathers information regarding their security. In addition, security guards are routinely scheduled to be on location at various compressor station facilities and project sites, including along the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project route. Our operations team determines the criticality of a site by analyzing the level of risk for disruption and the potential impacts on our local communities, on-site employees, contractors, equipment, and capacity throughput.

At construction sites, we deploy various levels of security, depending on their criticality and vulnerability. For critical sites, we secure pipe storage yards and worksites with 24/7 security guards or advanced analytic camera systems. At sites where an increased threat may exist, we employ both security guards and camera systems simultaneously.

The majority of our pipeline construction projects require us to hire guards during non-work hours and Equitrans’ Security Team oversees the security at all construction sites. If theft, vandalism, or other threats are encountered, a combination of roving and static guards along with varying levels of camera coverage will be employed to secure the site. For projects that encounter hostile persons or opposition during construction, we assign security teams to protect workers during the day and static guards to protect equipment during non-work hours. As an example, the MVP project has contracted nearly 100 roving and/or static guards to protect workers, equipment, materials, and construction sites. If we encounter a hostile person or group during construction, we contact the appropriate law enforcement groups and implement security and static guards to ensure our workers and equipment are safe.

Security guards also protect compressor stations and various other sites based upon criticality and vulnerability. Additionally, barbed-wire fencing and access controls, along with high-resolution analytical camera systems are used when deemed necessary. Other sites such as interconnections and metering stations incorporate fencing, cameras, or both, depending on the perceived threat to the specific location.

Office Security

Equitrans uses physical security measures in our offices to protect our employees, information technology infrastructure, and other assets, and security guards are stationed 24 hours/day, seven days a week at our headquarters office in Canonsburg, PA. We use gates, trespassing signs, and motion-activated cameras to deter unauthorized persons from entering our offices. We implemented an anti-tailgating system at the entrances of our headquarters office that signals an alarm when two people walk into the office together when using only a single employee badge. The headquarters office security personnel are CPR and AED certified and are trained to assist emergency medical service responders by quickly escorting them through building security. We continue to evaluate emerging risks and explore new ways to ensure the safety and security of all our offices.

Evaluating Our Physical Security

With oversight by the HSSE Committee of the Board, Equitrans’ approach to physical security is intended to reduce the risk of both major and minor incidents. As part of our physical security program, our security team works diligently to ensure all aspects of our enterprise are safe, including Equitrans' employees and assets, contractors, and local communities. We track regional, national, and global protests utilizing the Welund database.

To promote respect for human rights, all of our security guards are directed to “observe and report” and are expected to follow strict orders to have no physical contact whatsoever with community members or the public-at-large, including opponents. When confronted with physical opposition, our guards are trained to assist staff with safe evacuations, notify appropriate law enforcement authorities, and document the incident in detail as a witness. There are, however, select situations or circumstances where it may be necessary to have a presence of armed guards with arrest powers, although that is not standard protocol at all locations.

 

Our operations team determines the criticality of a site by analyzing the level of risk for disruption and the potential impacts on our local communities, on-site employees, contractors, equipment, and capacity throughput.

In late 2021, we partnered with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to comprehensively review Equitrans’ physical security program and began to voluntarily standardize our security measures to better align with emerging federal security expectations and regulations. We have since completed our 18-month follow-up with the TSA and have implemented each of the suggestions from their initial review. Additionally, for the safety and security of our employees, Equitrans implemented an overseas travel process that assesses U.S. State Department information and provides travel safety guidance for specific destinations. Equitrans is always looking for new ways to improve our security and protect our customers and communities, including consistent monitoring of our systems for vulnerabilities and efforts to mitigate any risks.

Our Approach to Cybersecurity

 

Cybersecurity is at the core of our technology strategy, the activities of which are managed by our Chief Information Officer and reviewed and monitored by our Executive Management, with oversight from our Board of Directors. The Company’s cybersecurity program forms the foundation of that strategy and is managed by our Senior Director of Cybersecurity and Network Operations. Together, our cybersecurity leadership team has more than 30 years of experience and multiple industry-recognized cybersecurity certifications. 

We understand the importance of cybersecurity as it relates to our role in providing critical infrastructure for our nation’s economy and national security, and our cybersecurity program aims to protect and secure our technology-based informational assets, as well as our operational assets to meet customer demands. We do this by leveraging skills across departments, applying sophisticated cybersecurity practices, and maintaining accountability to leadership.

Informed by our enterprise risk management program, we utilize risk-based analysis in decision-making to determine actions and priorities for our cybersecurity program.

Given the importance of Equitrans’ cybersecurity program, in April 2022, our Board elected to exercise direct oversight of cybersecurity matters, rather than acting through the HSSE and Audit Committees. The Board receives management reports on cybersecurity matters, as needed and no less than quarterly throughout the year, which include items such as cybersecurity updates, cybersecurity operational results, and audit findings. In addition, the Board receives and reviews the results of the Company’s risk and capabilities assessment on an annual basis.

Our cybersecurity program is designed to:

  • Leverage technology to securely and efficiently achieve business objectives
  • Establish situational awareness of evolving technology-related threats and vulnerabilities
  • Proactively detect and respond to cyber-attacks, minimizing adverse impacts to business operations

As a core design principle, Equitrans’ cybersecurity philosophy incorporates security requirements into our architecture, processes, and solutions. To affirm capabilities and identify opportunities, we developed a cybersecurity assessment program that is comprised of annual activities. To validate the effectiveness of our approach, we measure our capabilities and practices against the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework, relevant industry standards, and government regulations. In addition, we routinely engage independent third-party security firms to exercise and assess our cybersecurity capabilities. 

Framework

Image credit: N.Hanacek/NIST

Cybersecurity Program

Equitrans’ cybersecurity program has evolved through contributions from our technology team’s talent and experience, our security and legal partners’ knowledge and guidance, independent audit reviews and assessments, regulatory compliance inspections and recommendations, and information sharing with industry groups and government agencies. Similar to other companies in the natural gas industry, we recognize that no cybersecurity program is invulnerable, and we have identified, and expect to continue to identify, cyberattacks and events on our systems. In doing so, we have taken steps to reduce the probability of a future event and, should a future event occur, to reduce the potential impact to our business and operations.

Our cybersecurity program includes architecture, processes, and automation. Equitrans practices proper cyber hygiene through rigorous identity and access management, vulnerability and patch management, and asset management programs. These programs are designed to reduce the attack surface for adversaries and allow us to proactively manage our user accounts, systems, and devices. We also segment our informational and operational technologies, as appropriate, and leverage network micro-segmentation to further protect our critical systems and assets. This practice, in line with zero-trust security concepts, restricts lateral movement within our network and allows only necessary and required access.

Equitrans’ cybersecurity approach extends to include vendors managed through our supply chain. We established a formal set of technology requirements for suppliers and contractors, by which third parties acting as contractors or suppliers for Equitrans must abide by uniform use and access requirements when utilizing the Company's technology resources. These requirements, which are included in our Supplier Code of Conduct and provided during the supplier onboarding process, support the integrity and security of Equitrans’ resources and related information, including the appropriate handling of Personally Identifiable Information (PII). In addition, contractors and consultants that have access to Company data, devices, or services are required to complete cybersecurity training prior to receiving access. We believe our structured approach to technology management with third-party vendors demonstrates our commitment to protecting the Company’s critical data.

Capabilities

As essential components of our technology strategy, we appreciate that cloud and internet services continue to transform the technology landscape. We believe embracing cloud and internet technologies has improved our resilience and demonstrated performance improvements, while also ensuring enhanced security controls and visibility. To provide consistent and holistic security visibility in a cloud-computing environment, we established a virtual perimeter around our data, applications, and services by integrating our cloud-hosted services with our security operations center. To enable our cloud approach, we believe Equitrans has built a modern high-performance network to provide secure and resilient connectivity between Internet and cloud services and our field locations.

Operationally, we continuously monitor for cyber intrusions, augmenting our internal resources and capabilities with that of third-party service providers. Multiple security technologies are employed to protect our systems, applications, and data, including next generation firewalls, strong multi-factor authentication and access controls, and endpoint detection and response solutions. Collectively, we believe these technologies protect, secure, and segment Equitrans information while traversing home and public networks.

To support our remote workforce, Equitrans utilizes a scalable, cloud-native architecture to provide secure access service for mobile users from anywhere. We also employ a network monitoring and detection solution designed to baseline network activity and identify anomalies in our network.

Detection and Response

Beyond our data privacy policies, additional access restrictions and monitoring are in place for data related to our customers’ and landowners’ PII, and similar protections are in place for commercially sensitive data and systems. Additional protections are provided via active alerts and monitoring for data movements and with electronically enforced policies such as prohibiting USB storage devices. 

In addition to active threat prevention and detection, we believe our cybersecurity program includes robust containment, response, and recovery capabilities. Our fault-tolerant, highly available architecture is an important part of our continuity and containment through network segmentation and micro-segmentation designs; however, Equitrans does not solely rely on architecture to ensure continuity and containment. Automated account disabling, automated device quarantining, and network segment-isolation scripts are examples of response technologies and processes that enhance containment during an incident. Response capabilities also include cyber kill chain runbooks to thwart bad actors or malicious code from traversing our environment. 

An important part of our recovery capabilities is our data backup program. We believe we adhere to a robust Enterprise Data Backup Policy, which includes, among other activities, offsite backups, intra-day recovery points, and routine restoration of critical data. We are also able to quickly recover virtualized servers and network appliances through infrastructure-as-code and data replication to multiple operating regions. We routinely exercise our recovery capabilities as part of upgrade and patch testing.

Our Crisis Management Plan includes specific response activities for cybersecurity incidents. We conduct routine cyber incident drills that include cross-functional participation by our executives, business stakeholders, and legal and security partners. Through these exercises we evaluate the effectiveness of our outlined response plans and procedures.

Education and Training

Our technology governance is documented through written policies, standards, guidelines, and standard operating procedures, and we implement electronic enforcement as a monitoring tool to ensure compliance and assist in preventing undesired behaviors. We prioritize training and cybersecurity awareness for our employees and extend this training to include our service providers and partners. Quarterly cybersecurity training is required for all employees. This training and awareness content covers topics such as knowledge of cybersecurity policy, understanding of cyber threats, and incorporation of leading practices into their daily IT- and cyber-related activities. Equitrans employees and partners with access to our operational technology (OT) network are required to participate in additional training specific to OT interactions.

 

Evaluating Our Cybersecurity

Due to the critical nature of our business to the U.S. economy and national energy security, cybersecurity is a top tier enterprise risk. With this designation, cybersecurity mitigation activities are incorporated into our daily operations and business strategy, as well as our financial planning and capital allocation processes related to the annual budget approved by our Board.

Equitrans’ cybersecurity assessment program is built on the concept of multiple security firms performing independent reviews to continuously assess our vulnerabilities and capabilities.

Our enterprise risk management program assesses operational, financial, and government and regulatory risks that threaten the achievement of the Company’s objectives. As part of this program, executive and senior leadership convene quarterly to re-assess risks, report to the Board annually on enterprise risks, track mitigation activities, and identify emerging risks. The program includes quarterly technology and cybersecurity risk assessments, the results of which we utilize to conduct risk-based decision making to determine actions and priorities for our cybersecurity program. The technology and cybersecurity risk assessment process includes an objective, risk-ranking process; documented mitigation activities; and action plans for those risks requiring additional mitigation. These activities consider safety implications, operational disruptions, and business and financial impacts.

Another critical component is our cybersecurity assessment program, which is built on the concept of multiple security firms performing independent reviews to continuously assess our vulnerabilities and capabilities. Additionally, Equitrans’ IT leadership routinely conducts risk quantification and assessment exercises to enhance the resiliency of our systems, ensure the effectiveness of our cybersecurity program, and minimize the risk of cybersecurity activity. We augment those reviews with self-assessments, purple team exercises, and incident response exercises to provide comprehensive feedback to our readiness. We believe this continuous improvement approach to cyber protection and response allows our program to remain flexible and dynamic, allowing us to adapt to ever-changing threats within the expanding cyber landscape.

Equitrans’ IT group actively works to comply with applicable TSA security directives and leading cybersecurity practices to protect Equitrans’ digital assets and operational capabilities. We continuously engage with relevant government agencies to report and share security information enabling us to benchmark our capabilities, establish appropriate program targets, and adapt to emerging cybersecurity issues.

Highlight Stories

Employee Generosity — Giving Back To Our Communities

Equitrans Midstream is committed to making a difference in our communities, and the United Way is just one way we can join together to support those in need. For our 2022 campaign, we selected the United Way of Washington County as our primary United Way affiliate, which aligns with our Company headquarters’ location. Employees also had the opportunity to donate to the United Way of their choice by selecting from other United Way affiliates located in our primary operating states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, or West Virginia.

To jump start our 2022 United Way campaign, we held a basket raffle during our all-employee meeting and holiday celebration in Morgantown, WV. Employee teams donated 27 individual baskets, with raffle ticket sales raising more than $11,000 in donations. This was matched dollar-for-dollar by our Corporate Local Giving Program, jump-starting our 2022 campaign with a contribution of more than $22,000 to the United Way.

Through our official United Way campaign, which is conducted annually via individual, online donations, Equitrans employees pledged roughly $57,000 in individual contributions, which was matched dollar-for-dollar through the Equitrans Midstream Foundation for a total of approximately $114,000. Additional donations were made outside of our formal campaign, and, based on totals provided by the United Way of Washington County — Equitrans’ contributions totaled more than $169,000 in 2022 — making us the top contributor in their Chairman’s Award for Top 5 Workplace Giving Campaign Partners program.

Equitrans also received the agency’s Campaign Excellence Award, which is presented to a workplace giving campaign partner that puts forth extra effort in running their annual workplace giving campaign. In addition to our traditional campaign, this award was due in part to the hosting of our special to basket raffle event, which engaged all employees and included matching funds by the Equitrans Midstream Foundation and the Company’s Corporate Local Giving Program.

The United Way of Washington County’s mission is to unite people, resources, and organization to improve lives in Washington County. Through Equitrans’ support, the various programs at United Way will be funded to serve the most pressing needs in vulnerable populations within our local operating areas. Our donation is a powerful force for change, and we thank our employees for their generosity and support!

Productivity Redesigned

As the world continues to adapt and evolve, companies are re-evaluating their management approach and taking into consideration the individual needs and circumstances of their employees to create work-life harmonization. With the implementation of person-centric leadership practices, Equitrans took the opportunity to redesign how we operate, improving performance and engagement and increasing our ability to compete for talent.

In early 2020, Equitrans began to recognize the benefits of a flexible workplace model. We initiated a deeper dive into the concept by soliciting survey feedback from office-based employees regarding their preferred ‘workplace persona’ preferences (anchor, flex, and remote). Today, we have fully embraced a ‘person-centric’ work environment, which takes into account the physical, cognitive, and emotional needs of employees and encourages them to find the best integration between their work and personal lives. With this approach, work is no longer about where an employee is located, but about the actual work an employee does. Importantly, employees are evaluated on work produced, without consideration to where or how they worked.

Rather than conforming to legacy practices or location constraints, Equitrans’ person-centric work model is defined by flexible work experiences, intentional collaboration, and empathy-based management. For our field-based employees, who are primarily required to work onsite, we rolled out flexible work guidelines to demonstrate our commitment to our person-centric work approach. Upon implementation of this new work model, roughly 44% of employees are working remotely, 25% split their time between working remotely and at an Equitrans location, 31% work from an Equitrans location full-time, and less than 1% work part-time.

We expect our person-centric model will continue to improve employees’ satisfaction and retention, as well as help to expand our talent pool. Since implementing our workplace personas, the number of employees working in other U.S. locations has increased, and we have been able to improve gender diversity. As part of our new work model, we periodically conduct employee surveys and focus groups to obtain feedback, using the results to adjust our workplace practices, as needed.

Office-Centric vs Person-Centric Work Design
Office-Centric Person-Centric

Provide consistent work experiences to deliver equality of experience

Provide flexible work experiences to deliver equality of opportunity

Enable serendipitous collaboration to deliver innovation by chance

Enable intentional collaboration to deliver innovation by design

Drive visibility-based management to deliver performance by inputs

Drive empathy-based management to deliver performance by outcome

Enhancing Methane Monitoring

In January 2023, Equitrans announced its status as a founding member of the newly formed Appalachian Methane Initiative (AMI), a coalition of regional natural gas operators committed to further enhancing methane monitoring throughout the Appalachia Basin and facilitating additional methane emissions reduction in the region. The AMI coalition was formed for the purpose of establishing and effectuating a methane monitoring, reporting, and mitigation network throughout the geographic area known as the Appalachian Basin.’

AMI’s efforts are intended to promote greater efficiency in the identification and remedy of potential fugitive methane emissions from operations in the Appalachian Basin through coordinated satellite and aerial surveys on a geographic-basis as opposed to an operator-specific basis and taking into account advanced methane monitoring and reporting frameworks. Additionally, the coalition will seek to coordinate and share best practices in mitigating methane emissions from natural gas operations, including production and midstream, and collaborate on activities and monitor results through transparent, publicly available reporting. 

For much of 2023, AMI is focusing on developing and implementing a pilot monitoring program to cover select areas of interest within the Basin’s major operating footprints, with the goal of working to develop and implement a full-Basin monitoring plan in 2024.

As part of AMI’s official launch, a news release was issued by the coalition’s founding members. We believe our membership in AMI will support our ongoing methane reduction efforts and complement our many ESG initiatives, and we look forward to working with other coalition members on advancing AMI’s initiatives.

Our Bees Are All The Buzzzzz

At Equitrans, there is a clear tone that begins at the top — sustainability is critically important to the world we live in and is also essential to the future growth of our Company. In 2023, E-Train celebrated Earth Day with the kickoff of a two-year sustainability partnership with Alvéole. Alvéole focuses on bee-friendly communities for greener cities by installing honey bee hives at business locations across the world to foster environmental awareness and educate communities on the importance of creating sustainable bee populations. In fact, according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, honey bees help to produce one-third of our food supply by pollinating $15 billion worth of crops in the U.S. each year, including more than 130 types of fruits, nuts, and vegetables. 

Through our new partnership with Alvéole, E-Train is hosting and supporting two honey bee hives at each of our Canonsburg, St. Clairsville, and Waynesburg offices. The hives were installed in late spring, and the bees have begun to collect nectar and pollinate thousands of flowers and plants. With the help of our assigned Alvéole beekeeper, the hives will become established, and the bees will re-emerge every spring to pollinate flora to grow food and produce E-Train’s own locally sourced honey.

Equitrans and Alvéole also established “MyHive” microsites for each of E-Train’s office locations. The MyHive sites are located on Equitrans’ intranet, and employees can access the sites at any time to find educational honey bee information and receive updates on our hives. As an added benefit, Alvéole beekeepers will conduct various on-site informational events for employees, such as beeswax candle making and honey extraction sessions. 

As we continue to safely and responsibly operate our network of natural gas pipelines, water lines, and compressor stations, it’s important to remember that the decisions we make today have a lasting and positive impact on future generations. On Earth Day and every day, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard by embracing our responsibility to operate in a manner that minimizes impacts on our natural resources and — above all else — we must keep safety our top priority, always.

Renewable Electricity and Scope 2 Emissions

With the publication of the Company’s Climate Policy in 2021, Equitrans established targets that include a 50% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 methane emissions by 2030 and a 50% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2040. Since this time, Equitrans has aggressively focused on reducing its direct Scope 1 emissions, which included the replacement of pneumatic devices and the installation of vent gas recovery units during 2022. These activities are expected to directly contribute to a reduction in methane emissions from operations. Additional information and details on the Company’s reduction efforts can be found in the GHG Emissions and Climate Change section of this report.

Equitrans is also working to reduce its indirect Scope 2 emissions, which are emissions related to purchased utilities, such as electric generation and heat. One method of aiding in the overall reduction of indirect Scope 2 emissions is through the purchase of certified renewable energy credits or RECs. Each REC is a certificate that corresponds to the environmental attributes of electricity that is generated from a zero-emissions renewable source and delivered to the electricity grid.

For the year-ended 2022, Equitrans purchased and retired 35,000 Green-e Energy certified RECs for its operations. These purchased RECs represent 35,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of generated renewable energy, which in this case was from wind energy generated in Oklahoma and delivered to the corresponding regional electric grid. By purchasing and retiring these RECs, Equitrans is taking credit for the renewable energy generated and ensuring that it is not accounted for elsewhere in the country. By purchasing these certified RECs, Equitrans was able to account for 100% of its purchased electricity through the supply of zero-carbon renewable energy, as related to its indirect Scope 2 GHG emissions.  

Managing and Protecting Pipeline Integrity

Identification and management of landslide risk is a vital aspect of Equitrans’ daily work activities; however, the risk of a landslide is not limited to the midstream industry. Landslides can occur in any type of terrain, including both hills and valleys, and can be associated with any type of ongoing construction or pre-existing land disturbance. Natural factors such as rainfall and surface runoff water can amplify their frequency or severity; and left unmanaged, landslides have the potential to impact our environment. For Equitrans, this impact may include creating unnecessary strain on our underground pipelines, which are typically located in a variety of terrains as compared to our non-linear assets. To avoid unsafe situations and protect the integrity of our pipeline network, our engineering team uses a multi-faceted approach to aggressively identify and manage areas at risk for potential landslides. 

To identify potential land movement near our assets, Equitrans’ engineers utilize aerial patrols, drones with photogrammetry change detection, and routine on-site inspections — or, if required, a combination of these methods may be used. In each case, we monitor our pipeline rights-of-way looking for any indication of unstable soil, such as discoloration, downed trees, or other data that could indicate a change in topography. Following a thorough evaluation of each asset location or suspected slide area by our engineering and compliance teams, we assign a priority ranking to indicate the potential for further movement and any risk to the environment or to the integrity of the pipeline.

As a final step, Equitrans pairs the geographic location data of known and suspected landslides with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) information. This analysis is done on a daily basis and allows Equitrans to identify rainfall events that could affect the stability of existing slide-prone areas and to rapidly respond and investigate when conditions change on the ground. In accordance with a defined framework that accounts for slide priority and rain severity, personnel may be deployed to conduct visual, on-site inspections. Beyond rainfall data, we also monitor temperature data to understand freeze thaw cycles and similarly deploy personnel to evaluate sites under changing conditions. Through continued use of these evaluation tools — aerial inspections, drone imaging, and manual site inspections — Equitrans remains committed to environmental and operational safety through its robust process to identify and manage potential landslides.

In addition, Equitrans launched a Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) pilot program in 2020 to aid in the enhanced detection of potential landslides along our pipeline rights-of-way. Today, we conduct semi-annual LiDAR flights across thousands of miles of pipeline. The adoption of LiDAR technology and utilization of our enhanced construction standards are collectively designed to improve Equitrans’ ability to mitigate landslide risk for the safety of our employees and communities, and for the benefit of our customers, investors, and the environment. 

Inspiring the World to Reuse

As we broaden our sustainability investments, we are especially proud of our partnership with Fill It Forward, an organization whose mission is “to inspire the world to reuse” by focusing on the elimination of single-use waste, such as plastic bottles and bags. In 2021, Equitrans partnered with Fill it Forward as a means of engaging and educating employees, while at the same time elevating our many ESG (environmental, social, and governance) initiatives.

In late 2021, we launched our Fill It Forward campaign with a custom holiday gift box for employees that included reusable tote bags and bottles with individual ‘scan tags’ that acted as a re-use tracker. When the tags were scanned, the data was automatically uploaded to Equitrans’ custom group on the Fill It Forward app and was used for tracking our collective impact, such as waste diverted, emissions saved, and how much ocean pollution was prevented.

Along with helping to eliminate waste, there was a charitable component to our Fill It Forward campaign. Each employee scan unlocked a $1 donation for every reuse, which contributed funds to our chosen charitable organization — DigDeep’s Appalachia Water Project. The funds collected were used to provide clean drinking water through the installation of meter-to-home water lines for families in southern West Virginia who currently have unsafe, limited, or no water at all. Our goal was to generate 10,000 scans and raise $10,000 for the Appalachia Water Project, and we were thrilled to have reached our goal roughly six months into the campaign. In addition, as part of Equitrans’ annual holiday giving initiatives, we made a separate donation of $20,000 to the Appalachia Water Project.

Thanks to the efforts of our employees — Equitrans was the proud recipient of Fill It Forward’s Changemaker Award for 2022. This unique ESG-focused campaign was a means of engaging and educating employees, while also elevating our sustainability efforts. Together with Fill It Forward, we believe that the simple act of reusing is the first step towards creating a sustainable mindset for all generations — and as an added benefit — being able to connect families with access to safe water will ensure the health and success of communities for years to come.

Equitrans Midstream’s Impact
 
19,968.42
lbs of emissions saved

 
617.58
lbs of waste diverted from landfill

 
11,734.02
kwH of power saved

 
123.52
lbs of ocean pollution prevented
20,586
total reuses

Source: Statistics calculated by Fill It Forward, as of year-end 2022

Proactive Project Outreach

Equitrans Midstream relies on proactive community engagement and feedback to foster a culture of trust, inclusivity, and transparency, and we view our projects and operations through a lens of responsibility and accountability. In keeping with this belief, environmental justice is an important component of our stakeholder outreach activities. Our Environmental Justice Policy lays the foundation of our commitment to provide for the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people in any public process involving our operations, regardless of race, color, national origin, or income. 

It is often said that actions speak louder than words, which was the case for the outreach team working on our Ohio Valley Connector Expansion (OVCX) project. As a critical component of the project’s pre-planning phase, our team contracted the services of an outside vendor that specialized in the identification of environmental justice communities located near the project. After consulting with the FERC, the EPA, and our contracted environmental justice specialists, Equitrans extended the OVCX project’s landowner contact radius an additional 0.5 mile to maximize the outreach efforts and ensure all stakeholders were personally aware of and involved with the project details.

In addition to our land team contacting property owners and community members within the expanded radius, the OVCX outreach team conducted multiple pop-up educational meetings and community open houses; solicited pre-paid comment and suggestion cards; distributed various informational mailings; and remained engaged with the community every step of the way by responding to questions and feedback. To better understand the needs and challenges faced by those living near the proposed project, we also met with local organizations and elected officials, as well as other key decision makers. These additional, proactive measures taken by our OVCX outreach team went above and beyond regulatory requirements to ensure consistent communication and transparency throughout the project’s lifecycle.  

x
Share This Page