Protecting the environment is a key component of Gran Tierra’s development plans and operations. The company attaches great importance to minimizing its impact on the environment and voluntarily supports environmental education, conservation and prevention programs.
South America is a beautiful, biodiverse region with a natural heritage that must be protected. Gran Tierra understands that it is a guest in Colombia and Ecuador and that to be a responsible guest, it must meet or exceed both national and international standards in a way that is transparent. Protecting the environment is a key component of Gran Tierra’s development plans and operations.
Prior to entering any new areas, and in accordance with Colombian and Ecuadorian environmental regulations, Gran Tierra performs rigorous environmental impact assessments of its proposed projects. These assessments enable project planners to understand the environmental conditions of the area; determine the interactions between a project and the ecosystem; identify potential impacts; and propose appropriate environmental strategies and any needed mitigation, correction or compensation measures. In addition, during the environmental impact assessment process, GTE takes into account the participation of the local communities and authorities.
GTE’s environmental goals are two-fold: leveraging the company’s resources to meaningfully address some of the most pressing environmental challenges facing South America, while minimizing the environmental impacts of its own operations.
In addition to meeting regulatory requirements, Gran Tierra will:
- Develop and implement an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) that addresses all aspects of environmental protection and sets out specific plans and measures to avoid or limit harmful impacts.
- Ensure that wastes are minimized and disposed of properly.
- Implement an effective spill prevention program and quickly and thoroughly clean up any spills that do occur.
- Track greenhouse gas emissions and take steps to reduce them where economically feasible.
- Ensure consistent and capable environmental expertise and oversight to educate and train employees and contractors to properly implement the EMP.
- Voluntarily support projects and events focused on the protection of environmental resources such as water sources, native wildlife, forests and waste management.
Transparent Environmental Practices
An important part of GTE’s approach is being transparent about environmental practices, inviting communities to witness its activities and dispelling myths. The goal is to show communities what the company is doing, rather than just talking about it. Working with communities in organizing community familiarization trips to GTE facilities has been very effective in increasing local understanding and support.
Inviting Communities to Participate in Water Monitoring
In accordance with company policy and Colombia regulations, Gran Tierra regularly monitors and analyzes surface and groundwater using an external lab certified by government authorities; however, a myth that the company often encounters in communities is that lab results released by a corporation must be compromised. To counter this, GTE will fund additional independent water studies for local communities if they want to hire their own laboratory (as long as it is certified by Colombian regulators). GTE will take its own samples and compare them with the communities’ samples, sharing the results at a community meeting.
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Reducing Surface Water Usage
Water is one of the most precious resources available on the planet, and an important factor in oil production. Colombian regulations currently allow the use of surface water for oil operations and the release of wastewater that has been treated to meet international standards for water quality into surface water sources. However, recognizing the importance of this shared resource, one of the company’s top priorities is to target zero use and disposal of water from all surface sources. GTE’s efforts in this area have resulted in significant reductions of surface water per barrel of oil produced, even as the company has increased its overall production.