The oil & gas production industry is consistently failing to report measurable reductions of its impacts on communities and the environment from hydraulic fracturing operations, according to a scorecard report released by As You Sow, Boston Common Asset Management, Green Century Capital Management, and the Investor Environmental Health Network.
The report, Disclosing the Facts: Transparency and Risk in Hydraulic Fracturing Operations, benchmarks 24 companies engaged in hydraulic fracturing against investor needs for disclosure of operational impacts and mitigation efforts.
While scores varied, no firm succeeded in disclosing information on even half of the selected 32 indicators related to management of toxic chemicals, water and waste, air emissions, community impacts, and governance. Even the highest scoring company, Encana Corporation (ECA) provided sufficient disclosure on just 14 of the 32 indicators. The lowest scoring companies were: BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) (2 of out 32 indicators); BP plc (BP) (2 out of 32 indicators); Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM) (2 out of 32 indicators); Occidental Petroleum Corporation (OXY) (2 out of 32 indicators); Southwestern Energy Co. (SWN) (2 out of 32 indicators); and, in last place, QEP Resources, Inc. (QEP) (1 out of 32 indicators).
The report notes that measurement and disclosure of best management practices and impacts is the primary means by which investors can assess how companies are managing the impacts of their hydraulic fracturing operations on communities and the environment.
Institutional investors have been pressing oil and gas companies since 2009 for greater disclosure of their risk management practices. Investors have engaged over two dozen companies, filing nearly 40 shareholder proposals on these issues to date. The shareholder proposals have led to improved disclosures at many of the companies, but the scorecard report notes that much of this disclosure is narrative and qualitative in form, while quantifiable data are lacking.