CONSOL’s Slagel says HSE commitment counts

The inaugural Oil & Gas Awards are being held in March 2013. The awards are regional, with the first three taking part in the Rocky Mountain, Gulf Coast and Northeast producing regions. The awards celebrate business success twinned with an organizations commitment to health & safety, environmental stewardship and corporate social responsibility.

The Oil & Gas Awards are judged by the industry, with our judging panels made up by senior executives from upstream and midstream companies. One of our Northeast awards judges is Gary Slagel, senior advisor for environmental affairs at CONSOL Energy & chairman and executive committee member of Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association. We spoke to Gary to get his views on the key issues of HSE & CSR and the industry in general.

O&GA: Do you believe your organization’s environmental credentials are a significant factor for investors, customers and suppliers when deciding whether to engage with your company?
Gary Slagel: Yes. CONSOL Energy produced its first Corporate Sustainability Report in 2012 and it was very well received. Investors want to know what we are doing and how we are doing it relative to protecting the environment.

O&GA asked the same question to oil and gas industry professionals in a recent survey, 72 percent responded “Yes”, 21 percent said “Sometimes” and just 7 percent told us “No”. In the same survey we also asked “Is CSR a core focus for your organization in all decisions, or is it just sometimes part of the business process? 56 percent of respondents answered “Core to everything we do” and 38 percent said “Sometimes part of the process”.

O&GA: The reality is that businesses have to prioritize based on resources. How does CONSOL Energy manage its commitments to environmental stewardship, corporate social responsibility and health & safety? Is there an order of priority?
GS: Environmental compliance is our second highest corporate value (after safety) and as a value it does not change – priorities can change – values don’t.

O&GA: What legislation have you been encouraged by in 2012?
GS: The Appalachian Basin shale gas states (PA, OH, WV) all passed new legislation this year to advance shale gas development while enhancing environmental protection standards.

The O&GA acknowledge companies’ achievements throughout 2012 with the winners announced and the awards presented in March 2013, with this in mind:

O&GA: What have been the key environmental subjects in 2012 and where will the focus lie in 2013?
GS: I believe the focus will continue to be on air and water resources.

O&GA: When looking back at this year, what stands out for you?
GS: Low gas prices have really impacted the enthusiasm for dry gas development and concerns still exist with the regulatory process in several states, nevertheless, shale gas is a game changer and is here to stay.

O&GA: What are your predictions for 2013?
GS: Gas prices will rise enough to encourage more shale gas development.

Looking further ahead and at the bigger picture we asked:

O&GA: Do you think the U.S. can decrease fuel imports by 50 percent in the next 10 years?
GS: Absolutely – we can become a net exporter by simply taking advantage of our shale oil and gas resources, utilizing our existing fossil fuel resources (coal), and developing an overall national energy policy.

We also asked the same question in our recent survey, the oil and gas professionals that responded answered; “Yes” 79 percent, 15 percent said it would take “Longer” with just 7 percent answering “No”.

Gary Slagel is one of our judges for the Northeast Oil & Gas Awards; we are also hosting awards in the Rocky Mountain and Gulf Coast regions in March 2013. The awards program for the Mid Continent, Southwest and West Coast regions will run in late 2013.

HSE and CSR are essential to the future success of the oil and gas industry as well as being key factors in policy and corporate decision making processes. Organizations can demonstrate and publicize their commitment to HSE and CSR by participating in the Oil & Gas Awards. The awards are free to enter and the deadline for nominations and entries is Friday 30 November 2012, full details can be found at www.oilandgasawards.com.

With more than 20 categories the Oil & Gas Awards bring together upstream and midstream companies as well as the service providers and suppliers that support them. With categories ranging from “E&P Company of the Year” to “Drilling & Well Services Company of the Year” and “Environmental Initiative of the Year” there is a category for all companies that work in the oil and gas industry.
Honorees will receive great marketing and PR from the awards and inclusion in the post awards supplement, which will be widely distributed across the industry, full details can be found here.