Habitat

Our operations take place in diverse locations onshore and offshore. Wherever we operate, we consider it a priority to minimize disturbance to the surrounding habitat. We follow applicable regulations and use our own environmental site screening processes to assess potential impacts to habitats before we begin our operations and to avoid negative impacts.

Screening

As part of our environmental site screening process, we work to identify and avoid sensitive habitats, such as those involving threatened and endangered species and high-quality habitats relative to migratory birds. We also use our screening data to determine how we can mitigate possible impacts to species and their habitats. During 2016, we completed a habitat assessment in Israel to evaluate how proposed projects may impact species' habitats. We will use this information to develop a Biodiversity Action Plan, which specifies a set of future actions that will lead to the conservation or enhancement of biodiversity.

During seismic operations In both the Gulf of Mexico and Gabon, qualified observers are stationed onboard to watch for whale and turtle species that may be adversely affected. We use a "soft-start," or low-volume, method is used to ensure marine species have time to leave the vicinity prior to commencement of seismic services. When a species is observed, seismic activity is immediately stopped and does not resume until the species has left the area.
 

Minimize, Mitigate and Enhance

Once we begin operating in an area, we work first to minimize our impact, such as by using technology that reduces our surface footprint. We also work to mitigate the effect of our operations by taking proactive steps to protect species. In some instances we go further, and even enhance habitat.

Our DJ Basin operations are adjacent to the Pawnee National Grasslands in Colorado. Managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, this area is home to a variety of wildlife including eagles, migratory birds and federally listed threatened and endangered species. We work closely with resource managers in both agencies to ensure that we are complying with conservation objectives and federal, state and local permit and approval processes.

Raptor education is one aspect of our wildlife, cultural and wetland awareness and compliance program in Colorado. We continue a partnership with the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program that began in 2014, when we jointly developed a method for employees and contractors to internally report injured raptors they see. Employees receive training on about raptor species in the area, best management practices, personal safety tips and incident reporting.

The area around our Marcellus Shale operations In Greene and Washington counties, Pennsylvania, is recognized as having some of the most exceptional Indiana bat maternity roost colony habitat in the region. In addition to the Indiana bat (a federally protected endangered species), the Northern-long-eared bat (a federally protected threatened species) also has habitat in the area. We are working with agencies to avoid and/or minimize impacts to these species and find ways to enhance habitat where appropriate.

Our bat habitat mitigation and enhancement activities in 2016 included planting trees to reclaim previously disturbed properties and placing bat roosting structures in areas of subpar or marginal habitat to provide for the species. We continued monitoring the success of previously-placed mitigation structures on four other sites.

In the Permian Basin, our onshore Texas operations are near the University of Texas McDonald Observatory. Growing industry activity has brought increased lighting within a 57-mile radius of the observatory, affecting the observatory’s research. As part of the observatory’s Dark Skies Project, we are adding shields on lighting to direct the light downward and reduce glare, and converting lightbulbs to LED bulbs. Founded in the 1930s, the McDonald Observatory is one of the nation’s leading centers for astronomical research, education and outreach.

Our U.S. Gulf of Mexico business unit’s community outreach committee looks for partnerships that impact communities surrounding the Gulf of Mexico. In 2016, employees from the business unit volunteered at the Katy Prairie Conservancy in Waller, Texas, near Houston, planting and watering more than 300 plants. The Katy Prairie Conservancy is a nonprofit organization that works to protect greenspace for its conservation and recreational benefits, to enhance wildlife habitat, restore tallgrass prairie and wetlands, and sponsor scientific research.

 

Telling the Biodiversity Story of Bioko Island

Our Equatorial Guinea office is located on Bioko Island. One of our community partners on the island is the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program, which was established to conserve Bioko Island’s unique wildlife – especially the endangered monkeys and sea turtles – and the habitat that provides them with the shelter and food they need. Heidi Rader, who works for the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program, was so inspired by her on-the-job experiences that she wrote two books to share the island’s unique story with children in the classrooms of Equatorial Guinea and across the globe. Her goal is to inspire children to play a role in conserving the unique wildlife they discover through her writing and presentations. As part of our partnership with the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program, Noble Energy sponsored the printing of “Chatter in the Caldera: Monkeys of Bioko Island,” Heidi’s second book, which was published by the Wildlife Conservation Association.

Heidi RAder
Author Heidi Rader signs copies of her book - Chatter in the Caldera - which shares Equatorial Guinea's unique biodiversity story with children.

Heidi visited Houston and shared her story with our Houston employees and their children at an event on our headquarters campus, as well as with children at a local YMCA and the Aldine Family Hope Center. She also traveled to Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, where Noble Energy’s Marcellus Shale office is located, to share her story with more than 100 second-graders at a local elementary school.

Copies of her book in Spanish were also distributed to three dozen Bioko Island children participating in our third annual environmental education day on the island, conducted as part of our EG GrEEN program created by employees in 2014 to promote environmental stewardship on Bioko Island. The day’s activities included hands-on learning stations and a trail hike scavenger hunt. Our partners in the event included Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program, Drexel University research biologists and students, University of Equatorial Guinea educators, local environmental education group GIMEA, and performance group Bokamandja.

Endangered and Protected Species

Eagle Ford Shale and Permian Basin

Endangered:

Northern aplomado falcon (Falco femoralis septemtrionalis)

Diminutive amphipod (Gammarus hyalleloides)

Comanche Springs sunfish (Cyprinodon elegans)

Pecos gambusia (Gambusia nobilis)

Phantom springsnail (Pyrgulopsis texana)

Phantom Tryonia (Tryonia cheatumi)

Pecos assiminea snail (Assiminea pecos)

Least tern (Sterna antillarum)

Gulf coast jaguarundi (Herpailus yagouaroundi cacomitlli)

Ocelot (Leopardus paralis)

 

Threatened:

Mexican spotted owl (Strix occidentalis lucida)

Pecos sunflower (Helianthus paradoxus)

DJ Basin

Endangered:

Least tern (Sterna antillarum)

 

Threatened:

Mexican spotted owl (Strix occidentalis lucida)

Piping plover (Charadrius melodus)

Colorado butterfly plant (Gaura neomexicana var. coloradensis)

Ute ladies’-tresses (Spiranthes diluvialis)

Preble’s meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius preblei).

Marcellus Shale

Endangered:

Snuffbox mussel (Epioblasma triqeutra)

Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis)

 

Threatened:

Northern long-earned bat (Myotis septentrionalis)

Gulf of Mexico

Endangered:

Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus)

Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)

Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis)

Sperm whale (Physeter microcephalus)

Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus)

Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate)

Kemp's ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii)

Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)

Smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinate)

 

Threatened: 

Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)

Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta)

Gulf sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus desotoi)

Scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini)

Lobed star coral (Orbicella annularis)

Mountainous star coral (Orbicella faveolata)

Boulder star coral (Orbicella franksi)

Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmate)

Staghorn coral (Acripora cervicornis)

Pillar coral (Dendrogyra cylindrus)

Rough cactus coral (Mycetophyllia ferox)

 

Proposed Endangered:

Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera edeni)

 

Species of Concern:

iIvory tree coral (Oculina varicose)

 

Candidate:

Dwarf seahorse Hippocampus (zosterae)

Giant manta ray (Manta birostris)

Oceanic Whitetip Shark (Carcharhinus longimanus)

 

Eastern Mediterranean

Critically Endangered

Mediterranean monk seal

 

Endangered

Fin whale

Sei whale

Green turtle

North Atlantic right whale

Loggerhead turtle

Schreiber’s fringe-fingered lizard (Acanthodactylus schreiberi)

Short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis)

 

Vulnerable

Sperm whale

Leatherback turtle

 

Near Threatened

Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin

 

 

West Africa

Critically Endangered 

Pennant’s Red Colobus – Procolobus pennantii

Eisentraut’s Mouse Shrew – Myosorex eisentrauti

Leatherback Turtle – Dermochelys coriacea

Hawksbill Turtle – Eretmochelys imbricata

 

Endangered

Drill – Mandrillus leucophaeus

Preuss’s Guenon – Cercopithecus preussi

Bioko Forest Shrew – Sylvisorex isabellae

Sei Whale – Baelenoptera borealis

Blue Whale – Baelenoptera musculus

Fin Whale – Baelenoptera physalus

Green Turtle – Chelonia mydas

Loggerhead Turtle – Caretta caretta

Pincushion Ray – Urogymnus ukpam

Hawksbill Turtle – Eretmochelys imbricata

 

Vulnerable

Black Colobus – Colobus satanas

Red-Eared Guenon – Cercopithecus erythrotis

Humpback Whale – Megaptera novaengliae

Sperm Whale – Physeter microcephalus

African Manatee – Trichechus senegalensis

Olive Ridley Turtle – Lepidochelys olivacea

Fernando Po Speirops – Speirops brunneus

Red-headed Rockfowl – Picathartes oreas

Cape Gannet – Morus capensis

 

Near Threatened

Monitor Lizard – Varanus niloticus

Ursula’s Sunbird – Nectarinia ursulae

African Skimmer – Rynchops flavirostrus

Damara Tern – Sterna balaenarum

White Grouper – Epiniphelus aeneus

 

Least Concern

Crowned Guenon – Cercopithecus pogonias

Putty-Nosed Guenon – Cercopithecus nictitans

African Brush-tailed Porcupine – Atherurus africanus

Ogilby’s Duiker – Cephalophus ogilbyi

Blue Duiker – Philantomba monticola

Common Mink Whale – Baelenoptera acutorostrata

Risso’s Dolphin – Grampus griseus

Fraser’s Dolphin – Lagenodelphis hosei

Melon-Headed Whale – Peponocephala electra

Pantropical Spotted Dolphin – Stenella attenuate

Striped Dolphin – Stenella coeruleoalba

Common Bottlenose Dolphin – Ziphius cavirostris

Cuvier’s Beaked Whale – Tursiops truncatus

Mountain Sawwing – Psalidoprocne fuliginosa

Mutton Hamlet – Alphestes afer

Niger Hind – Cephalopholis nigri

Mottled Grouper – Mycteroperca rubra

Northern Star Coral – Astrangia poculata

Golfball Coral – Favia fragum

Great Star Coral – Montastraea cavernosa

Mustard Hill Coral – Porites astreoides

Finger Coral – Porites porites

Lesser Starlet Coral – Siderastrea radians;