In a strategic collaboration, Apache Corporation has joined forces with the Borderlands Research Institute (BRI) at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas, to initiate a groundbreaking well pad restoration research project. The partnership involves extensive research by BRI and Texas Native Seeds, a project under the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M Kingsville, to enhance habitat restoration efforts in the Permian Basin. The ultimate goal is to develop a comprehensive, science-backed reclamation document that can be shared across the Permian Basin's energy sector.
Jessica Jackson, Apache’s Vice President of Environment, Health, and Safety, expressed the company's commitment to sustainable energy practices and acknowledged the importance of continuous improvement in habitat restoration. The collaboration seeks to optimize the industry's approach to rejuvenating well pads, offering broader benefits to local biodiversity and habitat connectivity.
At the conclusion of a well’s service life, the conventional practice involves plugging the well, removing equipment, and reseeding the pad for gradual return to a natural state. However, this innovative project explores alternative soil preparation methods, incorporating biochar for improved soil fertility, and using undesirable scrub brush as a vegetative cover. These measures aim to expedite a more robust return to nature, discouraging foraging on seeds before germination.
Borderlands Research Institute, dedicated to conserving the natural resources of the Chihuahuan Desert, will assess the project's impact on vegetation, soil health, carbon retention, insect diversity, and the economic aspects of different restoration methods. Dr. Louis Harveson, the Director of Borderlands Research Institute, appreciates Apache's leadership and looks forward to bringing valuable science to enhance restoration practices in the energy industry.
This Apache-funded initiative also aligns with broader environmental goals, actively measuring increases in soil carbon to sequester CO2 in desert soils. Additionally, it supports Sul Ross State University student research through BRI, presenting best practices specific to the Chihuahuan Desert that positively impact biodiversity and ecosystem function.
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