Reducing Emissions in a Changing World, An Interview with Brian Blowers, Director of ESG Standards and Frameworks, Phillips 66

Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) standards and frameworks play a crucial role in sustainability at any company. At Phillips 66, they are being assessed and applied across its operations by its sustainability function.

Fugitive Emissions Journal had the pleasure of speaking with Brian Blowers, Director of ESG Standards and Frameworks at Phillips 66, about current sustainability efforts, the impact of these changes on critical assets such as valves, as well as the reality of fugitive emissions during this day and age.

By Charlie Evans

A Natural Progression

Blowers experienced an organic evo­lution throughout his career that led him to join the industrial industry. Starting out in farming, he learned many transferrable skills that carried him through his professional step­ping stones. “After finishing school, I earned a U.S. Coast Guard license and worked in the U.S. Merchant Ma­rines. During that time, I was recom­mended for an engineering position on an offshore tugboat, which was then owned and operated by the Tos­co Corporation.”

“As an engineer on a commercial marine vessel, you essentially over­see all of the daily operations of the equipment, ensuring that they are functioning correctly and that all general maintenance is performed,” he explained. “This includes over­seeing the immediate repairs, as well as the medium and long-term repairs, also known as a shipyard pe­riod; similar to a turnaround period in on-shore facilities.”

Brian Blowers.

“Transitioning to sustainability helped to widen my perspective.”

In 2006 the vessel was sold, and Blowers transitioned his career to the corporate side of things. “I did not want to go offshore, so inspect­ing, auditing, and vetting came into play for me.” From there, Blowers transitioned into a Health, Safety, and Environmental role that includ­ed regulatory and government af­fairs which naturally progressed him into the sustainability function.

“Transitioning to sustainability helped to widen my perspective. I now look at the company enter­prise-wide, as opposed to looking at it from one viewpoint,” he continued.

A Day in the Life

Working on the sustainability team at Phillips 66, Blowers’ scope of work covers a wide area. “The range of my work is enterprise-wide on all mat­ters related to sustainability includ­ing environment stewardship, social responsibility, and governance mat­ters,” said Blowers.

“One of my two principal focus areas are evaluating and engaging with ESG Rating Firms. They assess how our business translates outwardly to investors.” ESG Rating firms are organizations who gather data sur­rounding a company’s standards on the ESG scale and then rank them accordingly against other compa­nies. ESG ratings are reviewed by investors and other capital market participants. “It is important to verify the data and make sure analysts have an accurate depiction of our efforts,” Blowers continued.

“The second addresses the social ele­ment of ESG and includes our Human Rights Position, our business code of ethics, and social impact programs involving environmental and social related sponsorship and events. Sup­porting inclusion, and diversity is also a part of the role.”

When asked about a typical working day, he said, “I prioritize my tasks, despite the ever-changing world we live in, and focus on driving positive results and outcomes.” Blowers over­sees the Sustainability related inqui­ries coming in from the public, as well as dealing with hot topics, such as surveys. “There are always issues that pop up that need to be addressed, or a matter to be dealt with, or an in­quiry to be managed. That progresses throughout my day.”


When working in an industrial site, numerous valves need scheduled maintenance, and the operations and maintenance teams make sure that happens; ensuring the right valves are being applied in the right environment and correctly in the process. “Process safety is an important factor.”

The valves themselves may be mon­itored for emissions leaks, as well as need to comply with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expecta­tions. “As compliance expectations increase, a site may need to change out certain packing or change gas capture capabilities. It is crucial to keep up with the changing guidelines and remain in compliance with exist­ing regulations,” Blowers said.

“When it comes to valves and supply chains, we have sustainability expecta­tions embedded in our Business Part­nership Principles of Conduct. This is to ensure our suppliers are informed of those expectations,” he continued. “Where are the materials from?”

“Are they going to be able to meet certain criteria? Can they meet a changing criterion in the future as the climate evolves?”

“Everyone has a part in reducing our global emissions.”

The Impact of Fugitive Emissions in a Changing World

The reduction of fugitive emissions has become part of the GHG reduction goal in the industrial sectors as well as at Phillips 66. “As companies are work­ing on several global reduction initia­tives, a number of new technologies are evolving, and while they may not have reached their full potential yet, I believe with time they will and be able to help reach their targets.”

“I also see the industry remaining in a stringent and compliance-driven envi­ronment, where processes such as time capturing the emissions sources will become prevalent”, relayed Blowers. “There is constantly more technology being developed to meet those expec­tations and help make a start in those initiatives. We will get there; it will just take time.”

Benefits of Fugitive Emissions-Related Events

With events like Fugitive Emissions Summit Americas (FESAM) bringing the industry together, Blowers be­lieves these goals and initiatives will be met faster. “It is a great opportu­nity to network and share knowledge with others. It also allows for us to share common goals and issues and perhaps find a different way to ad­dress them.” There is also the oppor­tunity for companies to potentially discover new initiatives. “Some are running pilot projects, or launching new products, where events like FE­SAM allow for them to launch these things. Emissions reductions will play a part in the future of the oil & gas industry,” Blowers concluded. “Everyone has a part in reducing our global emissions.”

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