Environmental and Safety

Safely Moving Sustainable Energy


public awareness meetings held.


miles of pipeline inspected in 2021.

Pipelines and terminals are the most environmentally responsible and safest way to transport and store the liquid fuels that power our everyday lives and the ammonia that is integral to growing the food that nourishes our nation and the world.

Leader and Partner in Lower Carbon Intensity Fuels 

We are committed stewards of the environment and a leader in the storage of liquid renewable fuels and in the transportation of the ammonia used to grow crops for both food and biofuels. Renewable fuels — both additives and alternatives that can be used with existing engines and refueling infrastructure — reduce transportation-related greenhouse gases now, meet the growing demand for energy and avoid the greenhouse gases it would take to build a new non-liquid fuels infrastructure.

NuStar’s West Coast Terminals Renewable Fuels Growth[1]










































Our operations are well positioned to benefit from new production and conversion supply projects for renewable diesel, sustainable aviation fuel, ethanol and other renewable fuels as those markets continue to grow. We already play an integral role in storing the lower carbon intensity fuels that help the West Coast states reach their goals of reducing transportation-related emissions through Low Carbon Fuel Standards. 

According to data from the State of California, in 2021, NuStar handled six percent of California’s total biodiesel volume, 15 percent of the state’s ethanol, about 23 percent of its renewable diesel volumes and 76 percent of its Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) volumes. In fact, over one-third of our West Coast storage assets’ revenue was generated by our renewable fuels-related services, demonstrating NuStar’s ability to anticipate and find profitable, innovative ways to thrive as we navigate our nation’s evolving energy priorities.

NuStar’s Proportionate Share of California’s Renewable Fuels Market (2021 Total Volume)[2]



23%Renewable diesel

76%Sustainable aviation fuel


NuStar’s Ammonia Pipeline

In 2022, we plan to invest $10 million to expand our renewable capabilities on the West Coast. We look forward to continuing to invest in renewable fuels and continuing to implement our Guiding Principle of “Making a Difference.” We take great pride in our work to help states and communities reduce emissions with the renewable fuels we facilitate across our assets.

We are also looking for ways to build a lower emission, less carbon intensive future through projects on our Ammonia Pipeline, which spans over 2,000 miles and across seven states from Louisiana, north along the Mississippi River to Missouri, and then northwest and east to Nebraska and Indiana. NuStar’s pipeline offers the lowest-cost option for transporting the ammonia that is critical to fertilizing many of the fields American farmers harvest to feed the world and supply biofuel feedstock. We are working with customers to develop projects to explore ‘green’ and ‘blue’ ammonia[3] projects, which would be used for existing applications, as well as visionary future opportunities like renewable electricity generation and safe, efficient transportation for hydrogen to power fuel-cell vehicles.

[1] Includes thousands of barrels per year of biodiesel, ethanol, renewable diesel, renewable feedstocks and sustainable aviation fuel

[2] California Air Resource Board (CARB)

[3] “Blue” ammonia is produced with natural gas, but the associated emissions are captured and stored. “Green” ammonia is produced using “renewable” electricity to power an electrolyser to extract hydrogen from water and an air separation unit to extract nitrogen from air, which are then combined, through a chemical reaction powered by renewable electricity, to produce ammonia.

Safely Moving Liquid Fuels With Lower Greenhouse Gas (GHG) and Other Emissions

We are committed stewards of the environment who embrace sustainability and provide a low-emissions option for transporting and storing the reliable and convenient liquid fuels essential to our communities, now and in the future, as energy demand continues to grow.

Our communities will need these reliable high energy density liquid fuels, including renewable fuels, for the foreseeable future, and pipelines are the lowest-emission transportation alternative[1] and the most environmentally responsible[2] way to store and transport liquid fuels. In addition, pipelines transport the fuels underground and out of the way, while other options like trucks add congestion and undermine safety on our nation’s highways and generate more GHG emissions.


Utilizing America’s existing pipelines and liquid fuels storage system with renewable fuels that can be used in most engines today not only offers our communities a way to reduce GHGs now while meeting the growing demand for energy, but it also avoids the GHGs that would be emitted to build a new, additional non-liquid fuel transportation and storage system.


Global Renewable Fuels Demand by Scenario (MMBPD)















2020 Actual
Stated Policies Scenario (STEPS)
Announced Pledges Scenario (APS)
Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS)


Global Oil Demand by Scenario (MMBPD)















2020 Actual
Stated Policies Scenario (STEPS)
Announced Pledges Scenario (APS)
Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS)


These are our initial Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions disclosures. This data will allow us to continue assessing the feasibility of GHG reduction measures such as increasing energy efficiency, switching diesel pumps to electric and utilizing renewable energy sources.

Scope 1 and 2 Emissions[3]

Total GHG
128,236 MT CO2eScope 1 GHG Emissions
181,349 MT CO2eScope 2 GHG Emissions


Transporting the volume NuStar moves through its pipelines in one day would require approximately

2,750rail cars
Railway transportation creates
42%more GHGs.[4]
Truck transportation creates467% more GHGs.[4]


Pipeline Proportions of Emissions[5]

Graphic showing the flow process of the extraction of oil from the ground to the final product. After extraction, the oil is transported, then moved into the refining process, then the refined oil product is transported to the final use of the refined oil product.

[1]Source: “Lower Emissions,” Association of Oil Pipe Lines, 2021

[2]Source: “Lower Emissions,” Association of Oil Pipelines, 2021; “Pipelines are Safest for Transportation of Oil and Gas,” Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, 2013

[3]U.S. only. Does not include emissions from assets sold on October 8, 2021.

[4]Source: “Pipelines Have the Lowest Greenhouse Gas Emissions” Association of Oil Pipe Lines 2021

[5]Sources: “Crude Oil Investing in a Carbon Constrained World: 2017 Update”, ARC Energy Research Institute, using input data from the U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory to define the U.S. Refined Average (2014), 2017

Environmental Management Program

We are dedicated to proactively ensuring environmental excellence by integrating it into our operations, which are subject to extensive international, federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations regarding the discharge of materials into the environment, waste management, remediation, fuel composition and greenhouse gas emissions. In 2021, our capital expenditures attributable to environmental regulatory compliance totaled $6.4 million. We are investing in emissions reduction equipment and technology to prevent and detect leaks and control emissions, including specialized internal floating roofs, external floating roofs, vapor combustion units and vapor recovery units.

NuStar is committed to maintaining compliance with environmental permits, laws and regulations, as well as proactively ensuring the implementation of our Guiding Principles of Teamwork and Communication through our Environmental Management Program, which empowers our employees to work together to minimize our environmental impact, implement our commitment to biodiversity, manage environmental requirements and ensure people have the training to continue improving our environmental performance. Additionally, our employees work closely with our industry trade associations to develop and implement best practices and foster a cooperative relationship with government regulators, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other stakeholders.

Now a member of The Environmental Partnership[1]

[1]The Environmental Partnership is comprised of companies in the U.S. oil and natural gas industry committed to continuously improving the industry’s environmental performance.

The heart of our Environmental Management Program is the NuStar Safety and Environmental Management System (NuSEMS), which assures we incorporate a sustainability mindset in our work, with our Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle. The PDCA approach codifies continuous evaluation and improvement into our practices and procedures. We also utilize the American Petroleum Institute (API) 1173 Pipeline Safety Management System (PSMS), which reinforces the PDCA cycle. The PSMS also helps pipeline companies measure and improve HSE performance. Together, the NuSEMS and PSMS provide a strong foundation for our environmental and safety culture. To learn more about Occupational Health and Safety at NuStar, please refer to the Occupational Health and Safety page of this report.

NuStar Safety and Environmental Management System

Circular organization of the review and management systems in place at NuStar to promote Health, Safety and Environmental excellence at NuStar.

Heritage mesquite tree saved for landowner by Candy Vasquez, Senior Maintenance Manager
Landowner Relations

At NuStar, we highly value our relationships with landowners. We strive to be professional, courteous and respectful while performing work necessary to maintain our pipelines’ integrity and safety.

From the onset of a pipeline project, one of the questions we ask is, “How can we protect biodiversity and safely minimize our impact on landowners’ property and the environment?” For example, during our early route analysis, we identify populated areas as well as culturally and environmentally sensitive areas and take steps to either try to avoid them, minimize our footprint within these areas or mitigate our impact. Taking these steps, while following industry best practices, standards and regulations, is an integral part of our business.

After creating a preliminary route, we work with landowners to explain the project and how it may impact their property. We offer fair compensation for necessary land rights. During these discussions, work with landowners to preemptively identify any concerns an individual landowner may have that would require mitigation, such as impact to farming or ranching activities. Before construction begins, we also provide the planned work schedule to each landowner to ensure they are informed of our activities. Upon completion of the project, we then work to restore the affected areas back to their original condition, or better.

Our dedication to and communication with landowners does not stop once a project is complete; NuStar’s Operations and Real Estate Groups are dedicated to building upon and improving these relationships. We notify landowners of upcoming maintenance work, provide details on the work’s anticipated duration and do our best to address their concerns as part of that process.

We work hard to assure we always treat landowners and their property with respect. We consider ourselves guests while on landowners’ property, and we strive to perform all necessary work in a safe manner to protect the landowner, their property and the environment.

Operational Safety and Preparedness

We focus on providing reliable, safe service to our customers and being responsible stewards of our communities, our employees and the environment. We are proud that in 2021, we were once again a leader in safety by maintaining a significantly better Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) than the industry average and we continue to offer one of the safest options for responsibly transporting, delivering and storing liquid fuels. During 2021, our releases represented just 0.00068% of the 835 million barrels we moved, and we recently received the International Liquid Terminals Association’s (ILTA) annual Safety Excellence Award for the 12th time.

Our excellent safety record is due to the dedication of our employees to NuStar’s Guiding Principles of “Commitment” and “Safety,” through our extensive inspection program and our Control Center oversight 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.

For our pipelines, our Control Center proactively identifies and prevents releases, using an Automatic Leak Detection system and flow and pressure monitors. Our primary control room also has redundant client and server hardware, redundant power and communications infrastructure and our backup control center is fully functional, tested and operated on a quarterly basis and located within 30 minutes of the primary control room. 

We inspect over 99% of our pipeline miles with high-tech, in line inspection tools, with only 1% requiring other techniques. We are also dedicated to the safety of our storage tank facilities. For our storage tanks, we comply with American Petroleum Institute (API) internal and external inspection standards, such as API 653 Tank Inspection, Repair, Alteration and Reconstruction, and we maintain an integrity management program that includes daily audio, visual and olfactory inspections.

Our health, safety and environmental goal is simple: we aim for zero — zero injuries, zero incidents, zero releases. We strive to prevent any spills or incidents by participating in joint drills and exercises with regulatory agencies and performing internal exercises, including full-scale personnel deployment, tabletop exercises, equipment deployments and unannounced preparedness tests. During these exercises, we continuously evaluate and improve our Corporate and other Emergency Response Plans. Exercises like these enhance NuStar’s ability to respond effectively across departments, regions and business units.


In 2021, NuStar...

Inspected 170 water-crossings.
Conducted 61 API internal tank inspections.
Conducted 255API external tank inspections.
Had over300agency inspections.
Held over 200 public awareness meetings.
Inspected more than1,150 miles of pipeline.
Performed more than350 drills and exercises.
Completed more than 20,000hours of emergency response, environmental and safety training.
Completed over 10,000 aerial inspections across over285,000miles.

Occupational Health and Safety

VPP Star Sites

91% of our eligible U.S. terminals have attained VPP Star Status, OSHA’s certification recognizing employers and employees who demonstrate exemplary achievement in the prevention and control of occupational safety and health hazards and the development, implementation and continuous improvement
of their safety and health management system.


Map of the United States with NuStar VPP Star Sites highlighted.

As of December 31, 2021

Safety is NuStar’s first Guiding Principle, and the safety of our employees, contractors and communities is NuStar’s #1 priority. In 2021, we are proud to have once again maintained one of the best Total Recordable Incident Rates (TRIR) and still have the highest number of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star Sites in the independent liquids storage industry. This leading safety record comes from our strong culture of empowering and engaging employees and contractors to put safety first in our daily operations. We make sure every employee and every contractor know that they not only can, but should, stop work if they feel there is anything unsafe about any given situation.

In 2021, as in years past, our dedication resulted in a safety performance substantially better than our peers. Our TRIR was 14.6 times better than the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) comparison data for the Bulk Terminals Industry and 7.7 times better than that of the BLS Pipeline Transportation Industry. We also had zero Days Away, Restricted or Transferred (DART) injuries.

Three-Year Total Recordable Incident Rate[1]

BLS Pipeline Transportation
BLS Bulk Terminals

Our strong safety record is due in large part to the emphasis our Chairman of the Board, CEO and senior management have placed on empowering our employees to put safety first through their support and commitment to the OSHA VPP. By prioritizing the OSHA VPP certification process, we have provided our employees with training, accountability and an ownership stake in our safety culture, which in turn drives our safety performance.

Call Before You Dig

We support and encourage all members of our communities to utilize the 811 — Call Before You Dig service. NuStar responded to more than 90,000 Call Before You Dig requests in 2020.

OSHA VPP is an elite program that promotes effective worksite-based safety and health. In the program, management, employees and OSHA establish cooperative relationships at workplaces that have implemented a comprehensive safety and health management system. Certification as a VPP Star Site is OSHA’s official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health.

We are especially proud of how NuStar’s employees embraced OSHA VPP. We have more VPP Star-certified sites than any other independent liquids storage company in the United States, and we plan to make 100% of our eligible sites VPP Star certified.

In addition to our companywide dedication to OSHA VPP, 15 NuStar employees have been recognized as OSHA Special Government Employees. These are NuStar employees who have been trained by OSHA to perform occupational health and safety audits at the plants and facilities of other companies. OSHA utilizes these trained individuals to perform audits on the companies, which brings enhanced expertise to the OSHA program and allows our employees to learn from the best practices at those facilities.


[1]Industry averages derived from 2019–2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics Data. 2020 averages carried forward to 2021 for illustration purposes.

Image of the most recent Chairman’s Cup Award Winner standing with NuStar’s CEO Brad Barron.
Chairman’s Cup

To encourage and nourish our culture of Health, Safety and Environmental Excellence, our operating regions compete each year for the Chairman’s Cup. Senior management evaluates the regions based on key HSE metrics during the award year and presents the award to the region or regions that best demonstrate a commitment to HSE Excellence over the course of the year for Safety Excellence and for Environmental Excellence. Receiving this award is an important recognition of a region’s dedication to being a good steward and neighbor in the communities where we operate and live.

At NuStar, one of our greatest honors is an award named after our Chairman, Bill Greehey, the prestigious Chairman’s Cups for Environment and Safety Excellence. This honor is awarded once a year to the NuStar operational regions that best demonstrate two of our core values, environmental stewardship and safety excellence.

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