Protecting natural resources

Sustainable water usage, effluent minimization and recycling, consumption and waste reduction, and restorative decommissioning—guided by formal policies and processes

Patagonia, Argentina OAT
SLB realizes the importance of respecting and protecting the world’s natural resources.
We are expanding our formal water stewardship strategy—beyond our existing water management process. This includes metering, detailed reporting, and leveraging enhanced water risk assessments. These actions will help us identify water conservation opportunities and better understand the locations where our facilities, employees, and suppliers are most vulnerable to water risks.

Water conservation practices

We require that our activities, products, and services be designed, procured, and used with the goal of efficiently managing resource consumption. SLB operations and activities involving water resources must seek to maximize the reuse of water; investigate opportunities for rainwater collection and the potential for using suitable effluent from other processes as the source of water; minimize freshwater use, especially in areas prone to seasonal, sporadic, or year-round water shortages; and if cooling water is required, use recirculating systems where feasible.

As with all environmental aspects, SLB takes a risk-based approach to water use and conservation. In every aspect of our business, we strive to improve efficiency, and the same scrutiny we apply to improve other areas of our business is applied to the use of energy and water resources for the protection of the environment. We consider local circumstances such as environmental sensitivities and water availability when we take actions relating to water resources and develop site-specific water resource management procedures. Our Environmental Standard mandates that all sites requiring a Worksite Environmental Plan to receive environmental audits on a three -year cycle. Reports are prepared for each site receiving an audit. In addition, top findings summarized from all environmental audits in North America for a calendar year are shared in an annual year-end review call with stakeholders.

When we take actions relating to water resources, we consider local circumstances such as environmental sensitivities and water availability. We also develop site-specific risk-based water resource management procedures that address the water usage requirements at our facilities and operations, as well as controls and procedures to manage related impacts. A resource management procedure for water generally identifies the applicable sources of water supply and the principal uses of water and includes the following: 

  • risk assessment of the suitability, quality, sustainability, and reliability of the water supply to SLB and to other relevant stakeholders
  • assessment of opportunities to improve water use efficiency
  • assessment of the requirements for the treatment process and for potable water over the lifetime of the operation or project
  • details of applicable permits and licenses that are required to be obtained prior to sourcing water supplies
  • planned inspection and maintenance programs for water storage and supply infrastructure.

Local impact

Employee engagement with our procedures is integral in establishing robust and sustainable protocol at the local level. Our local SLB Empowerment Teams (SET) provide invaluable assistance in the development of the local procedures and a platform to effectively communicate the activities to the local populations. Water conservation guidance is also provided to our locations to help address local challenges. Sites are encouraged to establish a water usage baseline by reviewing historical data and then developing conservation plans to address the findings. These evaluations can lead to opportunities for the reuse of water in different processes.

  • In Guyana, we installed a closed-loop water recycling system at our largest facility to conserve water and reduce discharge to sewers. This decreased our impact on local water treatment systems and eliminated the annual need for 200 tote tanks.
  • In Mexico, installing a new water cycle management system within our onsite wastewater plant has reduced water consumption by 7% and waste discharge by 12.5%.
Prioritizing water management actions in Guyana
Management of waste and effluents
SLB is committed to managing and reducing waste and effluents throughout its facilities, and we have set internal objectives focused on effluent management. Most of our sites have waste minimization plans, and some are required to submit waste minimization and pollution prevention progress reports. Our waste management providers are contractually required to comply with all applicable laws, ordinances, and regulations at the federal, state, provincial, and local levels. We periodically audit them and hold at least one annual environmental business review with our top providers. Our waste-related data covers 100% of our business operations and includes waste from facilities, manufacturing, building, and remodeling as well as discarded sand from wellsite operations. We reuse materials when possible and continue to seek opportunities to reduce both direct consumption of resources and the waste we generate.
Controlling our discharges

We have procedures in place to minimize, respond to, and control the environmental impact of uncontained spills at company worksites and at some third-party-controlled worksites.

Chemical management

A chemical management process is in place to manage the risks associated with chemicals used in our activities, products, and services and to protect SLB employees, customers, contractors, suppliers, and property as well as the environment. The process also promotes compliance with regulatory and contractual requirements.

Additive manufacturing

We implemented additive manufacturing (AM) more than five years ago. AM is the process of creating an object by building it one layer at a time—usually through 3D printing rather than casting—with any number of materials, ranging from polymers to metals, ceramics, elastomers, gels, or biomaterials. In addition to improving efficiency, AM enhances sustainability by reducing material and energy consumption, manufacturing time, waste, and emissions. It also enables cost-effective production of small quantities, facilitating customization and conserving resources.

Managing environmental impacts

Our QHSE Policy Statement, which is signed by the CEO, requires an active commitment to and accountability for quality, health, safety, and the environment (QHSE) from all employees and contractors. Our QHSE commitments include minimizing our impact on the environment through pollution prevention, decrease in natural resource consumption, emission minimization, recycling, and waste reduction. Line management has a leadership role in communicating, implementing, and maintaining compliance with QHSE policies and standards.

Air Emissions

We're committed to reducing air emissions from our operations. SLB's Environmental Management Standard sets forth our requirements for monitoring emissions and complying with local air quality standards.