governance
Technological Evolution

Why It Matters to Us

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Explanation of the material topic and its Boundary

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Our ability to adopt innovative technologies enables us to cut costs, improve productivity, reduce environmental impacts, improve safety, attract and retain talent, adapt to fluctuations in commodity prices and remain a market leader. We leverage new technologies to benefit our processes, communities, environment, employees and other stakeholders to ensure we are the operator of choice. Our focus on technological evolution and continuous improvement are critical for our future success as the largest natural gas producer in the United States. 

What We Are Doing

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The management approach and its components

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Our strategic use of technology and commitment to process improvement plays a critical role in worker safety, community well-being and our ability to create sustainable value. We believe innovative ideas can arise from any part of our business, so we maintain open channels for submitting ideas and clear steps for implementation. In 2020, we continued to increase our focus on optimizing performance by building a foundation of reliable and visible data as we digitized our processes. Our aim going forward is to leverage our data to take action and inform operational decisions. 

DIGITAL WORK ENVIRONMENT

Our digitally-enabled workplace supports transparency, collaboration and data accuracy. Our digital work environment serves as our primary platform for online communication and collaboration. It is the home for our critical work processes and allows our employees to connect in real time, ensuring a shared and transparent view of operational data that drives decisions. It provides the structure that empowers our workforce to be agile, efficient and highly synchronized. The use of this technology has transformed our culture by: 

  • Enabling every employee across EQT to access a unified, accurate view of critical data 
  • Promoting collaboration across business areas and with executives and senior management 
  • Driving accountability for data collection and timely reporting 
  • Encouraging employees to connect, share ideas and provide feedback
  • Fostering innovation and capturing ideas that add value to the Company
  • Providing insights on areas for improvement
  • Reinforcing data quality to inform goal-setting, strategy and focus areas for EQT 

Not only has our digital work environment encouraged innovative thinking and idea-sharing, it also proved invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic. We were able to quickly shift all office-based employees to work from home in 2020, and realized that our digital platform was also well suited to aid in contact tracing. We were also able to access all field data remotely, enabling us to quickly and safely resolve many issues without needing to send an employee on site. Read more about our COVID-19 response in our Corporate Profile.  

INNOVATION PROCESSES

At EQT, we are focused on evolving our technology to achieve our goals and improve our performance in key indicators associated with material topics such as health and safety, environmental impacts, community impacts and operational efficiency. 

In 2020 we implemented a Special Project Pipeline process where any employee at the Company can submit a new idea for consideration and adoption into our operating procedures. Once the idea is submitted through our digital work environment, a member from our Information Technology team is automatically notified of the submission and schedules a time to review the submission with the requestor. The goal of that meeting is to confirm alignment with our mission, explore benefits to our operations and costs or develop new business objectives. 

We had so many ideas submitted that went through the Special Project Pipeline in 2020 that we began developing a new feature in the Special Project Pipeline called IT Prime. IT Prime will help us fast-track well-planned ideas that meet a few general guidelines. We believe this will take our innovation process to the next level by giving our business the tools to develop meaningful ideas and allow us to deliver quick solutions. 

DATA INNOVATION

The future of technological innovation — such as artificial intelligence, automation and a digital work environment — requires extensive, efficient and accurate data collection. We have developed a “Plan to Pay system and integrated it into our digital work environment, giving us a more holistic view of operations. Now all bids, cost estimates and other relevant data points are tied to our Master Operations Schedule so we can seamlessly plan and launch projects. By capturing activity and forecasting data in real time, we promote collaboration across relevant groups, including Procurement, Operations and Production. Our Plan to Pay system also exemplifies our efforts to automate systems, as our operating teams can plan a job and automatically receive a service provider name that connects to bids and generates a cost forecast. Underpinning the successful use of our data technology is a workforce culture that supports efficient and accurate data collection. We trust our employees to follow their training and instincts in decision-making, and promote accountability to keep our operations performing efficiently. 

We are also expanding our data technology to monitor well safety. In 2020, we developed a function within our digital work environment to enable employees to search various safety checks on each well to stay ahead of repairs. Employees also have the ability to generate work orders and proactively have the well checked, all within the same system. 

How We Are Doing

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Evaluation of the management approach

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Technological evolution is about making sure we are the operator of choice, now and in the future. In alignment with our Company strategy, we strive to develop and explore new technology that supports our operations and Environmental, Social and Governance program. We are focused on implementing new technologies and evolving our processes to create value for our communities, our employees and our business. We measure our innovation by the value it adds to our stakeholders, such as improved local air quality, cost reductions and improved safety metrics. 

As a result of implementing new technologies, in 2020 we substantially reduced our Pennsylvania Marcellus well costs, eliminated over 23 million gallons of diesel fuel from our operations and were able to effectively and safely manage our operations with minimal disruption in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021 we plan to focus on measuring the labor power hours required to deploy our work. We strive to understand how we can continue to enable employees to be efficient and focus on core competencies rather than additional work, which would further increase the efficiency of our operations. 

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Electrifying Our Operations

We have long understood the benefits of natural gas as a fuel source in our operations and we were early adopters and regular users of dual fuel diesel/natural gas hydraulic fracturing fleets (frac fleets) alongside our conventional diesel frac fleets in our completions operations. In 2019, as part of our mission to become the operator of choice for all stakeholders, we launched a concentrated effort to find and incorporate into our completions operations equipment that ileading-edge in both its technology and its impact on our stakeholders. 

We quickly realized that one of the most substantial things that could be done, both in terms of emissions and effects on stakeholders, was to replace our dual fuel and conventional diesel frac fleets with fully electric frac fleets that are powered by a natural gas turbine. We began transitioning to electric frac fleets in 2019, and we completed the full transition to electric frac fleets in 2020. From an environmental standpoint, we project that this transition has eliminated over 23 million gallons of diesel fuel from our operations annually. This not only improves our emissions profile, but also eliminates the spill potential associated with diesel and dual fuel frac fleets that require regular changes of motor oil and coolant to operate properly. From a stakeholder standpoint, electric frac fleets operate at a noise level comparable to ambient noise  significantly lower decibels compared to dual fuel and conventional diesel frac fleets. This benefits stakeholders that reside near our operations as well as our stakeholders that work in and around our equipment every day. 

We have also been able to leverage the knowledge and expertise gained from implementing these next generation electric frac fleets into our operations and applied it to improving related equipment. For example, we were the first operator in the nation to completely eliminate hammer unions from our hydraulic fracturing operations. Hammer unions have been a known failure point in the industry for a long time, even spawning safeguards on this type of connection due to numerous failures. Eliminating hammer unions from our hydraulic fracturing operations decreases the risk of failed connections, thereby creating a safer work environment that requires less labor to deploy and has a lower operational cost.  We were first in the nation to deploy a fully electric wireline unit to take advantage of the power generated on location and to decrease emissions and noise pollution while increasing reliability and uptime. These examples are just the beginning of our transition to the next generation of completions that fully utilize the electricity generated on our sites to power all operations and introduce innovation and technologies to further decrease our impact on the environment and our stakeholders.  


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