We seek to increase the number of national citizens in our workforce in Equatorial Guinea through recruiting, training, workforce integration, and educational and vocational programs. Equatoguineans grew to be 79 percent of the total workforce of Marathon EG Production Limited (MEGPL) in 2017, when we employed over 700 national citizens, directly and indirectly, in our operations.
During the past five years, our internship program has provided 80 Equatoguineans with on-the-job experience in our facilities. This program is possible through our partnerships with local technical education institutes like “12 de Octubre” Technical College and the National University of Equatorial Guinea (UNGE). Internship opportunities are offered to students attending universities outside of the country during academic breaks. In addition, four Equatoguineans are seeking degrees at the University of Houston and Prairie View A&M University in Texas, USA, on Marathon Oil scholarships.
Marathon Oil invests in health, environmental and safety (HES) activities in Equatorial Guinea to improve safety performance and minimize environmental impact. MEGPL, EG LNG and AMPCO had a combined Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) of 0.17 in 2017, with over 4.7 million hours worked, compared to a TRIR of 0.04 during more than 5.1 million hours worked in 2016. EG LNG achieved a milestone of zero recordables in over 737,000 hours worked.
Our operations in Equatorial Guinea conducted more than 600 leadership safety engagements and more than 5,000 behavior-based safety observations in 2017, as well as awareness campaigns. MEGPL and EG LNG addressed a key safety risk by implementing hands-free tools to prevent employee hand injuries during lifting activities, and delivered safe driving principles and training for employees who drive personal and Company vehicles in Punta Europa. The National HES Committee that serves as the link for safety between management and national employees held a safety week, trained members on key processes and prepared a process safety management (PSM) awareness project.
No effluent discharges or spills greater than 1 barrel outside of secondary containment, both onshore and offshore, were recorded in our Equatorial Guinea operations in 2017. We attribute this performance to plant reliability of approximately 94 percent, and strong inspection and preventive maintenance programs. In addition, Marathon Oil recycled almost 830 tons of industrial waste in 2017, compared to 485 tons in 2016. The increase in volume was primarily due to recycling more oil waste that was previously incinerated and recycling scrap metals from facility maintenance. The Company is evaluating recycling opportunities for domestic waste.
Marathon Oil adheres to well-established and effective security and human rights policies in Equatorial Guinea, and we have had no known security-related incidents resulting in a human rights violation in our operations since acquiring the asset. We employ a proprietary guard force to protect our onshore facilities and engage with the Navy of Equatorial Guinea to protect offshore facilities. In 2017, we worked with the Government of Equatorial Guinea and the United States Coast Guard to review the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) to enhance safety and security at the country’s ports. While we ended our participation in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) because our business strategy shifted to focus on U.S. unconventional resource plays, we continue to engage in industry discussions regarding transparency of payments.
Our operations in Equatorial Guinea encompass the largest petroleum sector facility in the country and the largest methanol producer on the African continent. Marathon Oil is demonstrating how an oil and gas company can run a world-class enterprise and bring economic progress, educational and employment opportunities, and sustainable social programs to the community and host nation, while building long-term shareholder value.