Reducing Our Environmental Footprint

Ensign strives to use fewer material resources to reduce both our environmental footprint and input costs.

Our Impacts

Our potential impacts occur in the manufacture, transport and operation of our drilling rigs and other oilfield services equipment, as well as in the manufacture of customized crude oil and natural gas production equipment.

While on a well site, the environmental responsibility generally falls on the operating oil company. Ensign is typically one of many subcontractors on such sites.

Ensign’s crews are trained in well control, which meets and often exceeds the well-control equipment requirements and practices required by regulation or the industry.

Reducing Engine Emissions

For several years, Ensign has pursued a program of replacing older, less-efficient engines used on our equipment with newer engines. The engines we now purchase represent the latest technology for achieving fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.

Wherever possible, we select engines that consume less fuel for a given power output level.

We are committed to purchasing new engines that meet the current North American emissions standards and meet or exceed the emissions standards in various host countries.

Increasing Drilling Efficiency

Our new drilling rigs have complex and flexible designs which result in a smaller drilling rig that accomplishes more work. One example is our proprietary Automated Drill Rig (ADR®) that we designed and assemble ourselves.

These more compact drilling rigs move and rig up in a fraction of the time of older designs.

Our newer rigs also incorporate drilling systems that reduce the overall time and energy needed to drill and complete a well.

Reducing Emissions

A smaller rig design means that we use less construction material, which reduces the emissions and CO2 produced during the manufacturing process.

Whenever practical, we use low-VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and lead-free paints to reduce emissions and minimize pollutants.

Our testing division uses production testing equipment designed to recycle production testing emissions back into the production line and reduce or eliminate the flaring of hydrocarbons.

Reducing Surface Impacts

We are also focused on reducing our impact on the physical environments in which we operate. The layout and compact size of our new drilling rigs means our customers’ wellsites require a smaller footprint, resulting in less impact on the terrain and vegetation.

Ensign also constructs our equipment and trains our people to conduct directional drilling and multi-bore wells, which significantly decrease surface impacts by reducing the number of wellsites.

Most of our drilling operations incorporate closed drilling fluid systems that reduce and, in some cases, eliminate site preparation and clean up.

Reducing Fuel Consumption

We work with customers to experiment with the use of alternative fuels. In several drilling projects in the United States we are using natural gas or LNG sourced from the field to power our equipment. We believe this reduces harmful emissions from the overall operation, especially when one factors in the added benefit of a reduction in fossil fuel emissions from not transporting fuel to the rig site.

Our global drilling rig fleet includes a number of “electric” drilling rigs that allow the “pooling of demand”, for example, dedicated engines are no longer required and engines can be shut down when power demand declines.

While the industry as a whole still operates a large number of older style mechanical drilling rigs, most newly built drilling rig designs incorporate technology that allows for the more efficient generation and delivery of power at the rig site, resulting in lower fuel consumption and consequently, lower emissions.


Recycling is another priority for us. We recycle at all of our locations and, wherever possible, our shops recycle oils and scrap steel.

Work in Environmentally Sensitive Areas

Ensign occasionally works in environmentally sensitive areas. In such instances, we work closely with our customer to ensure that any potential negative impacts of the planned operation are minimized or eliminated where possible. As a subcontractor to companies, we fall under their overall plans and reporting.

We train our crews to follow good environmental and waste management practices and this is monitored on an ongoing basis by senior supervisors and safety staff.

Diesel Fuel

Ensign’s shops and yards have various quantities of diesel fuel stored in equipment tanks. We monitor and check these sites on an ongoing basis and equipment is strategically located with environmental and safety concerns in mind.

Water and Handling Waste

Water supply and quality issues typically are the responsibility of the operating company. However, Ensign manages waste to ensure that any products in use during the drilling or servicing of a well are monitored and any spills are addressed quickly and contained on site.