March 15, 2021

A study in environmental excellence: Santos

As part of our run-up to the 2021 APPEA Environment and Safety Excellence Awards this June, we look at some of the previous winners and nominees who have helped shape the event into what it is today

The 2021 APPEA Environment and Safety Excellence Awards are fast approaching, so we thought there was no better time to reflect on the achievements of previous awardees and nominees who reflect the best of environment and safety practices in the Australian oil & gas industry.

The first company we will be highlighting in the run-up to 2021’s event is 2019 awardee Santos, which won of the previous Project Environment Excellence Award at the most recent Environment and Safety Excellence Awards. The company was recognised for its work managing seabird populations at its domestic gas facilities on Varanus Island, offshore Western Australia.

Santos operates the Varanus Island processing facility, which receives gas, oil and condensate from the offshore John Brookes, Harriet, and Spar-Halyard fields. This gas is then processed at the Varanus facility and eventually transported to customers on the mainland via two subsea pipelines.

Varanus, the largest of the archipelagic Lowendal Islands located off the coast of north west Western Australia, is a C-Class Nature Reserve, and like other islands in the area, boasts a considerable population of breeding seabirds. The company is passionate about protecting and preserving these island seabirds, particularly the local wedge-tailed shearwater, culminating in the launch of the Varanus Island Management project in 2018.

This project included an observational study into fledgling seabird behaviours with the help of an ecologist who advised Santos on how they could work to better protect the birds from any environmental impacts. The implementation of new procedures informed by this study greatly improved interactions with seabird populations over a three-year project period. As a result, APPEA recognised Santos for its conservation efforts with the Project Environment Excellence Award against strong competition in the category. The APPEA Environment and Safety Excellence Awards will return for its 20th anniversary this year as part of the 2021 APPEA Conference & Exhibition to be held in Perth from 14-17 June.

The event includes four awards across two categories, split between two awards for projects and two awards for companies:  Company Environment Excellence; Company Safety Excellence; Project Environment Excellence; and Project Safety Excellence. Applications for the award categories will run until 30 April 2021 and can be submitted via the APPEA portal here.

For more information about the APPEA Environment and Safety Excellence Awards, please click here