France: Award for Vermillion Energy and 10ha tomato grower Tom d'Aqui

Vermilion Energy Inc. is pleased to announce that its environmental partnership with the tomato growing company Tom d'Aqui in Parentis-en-Born (France Aquitaine Basin) has earned a national ecology award from the French government.

The 2013 Circular Economy Award for Industrial and Regional Ecology was presented to Vermilion in Paris on December 3, 2013, by Philippe Martin, French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy. The award recognizes economically successful enterprises that operate within a "circular economy," in which businesses and processes conserve, reuse and recycle resources to better protect our environment.

"While this is just one of many projects we have undertaken in the areas of safety, health and the environment globally, it represents a significant sustainability partnership for our operations in France," stated Vermilion's President and CEO Lorenzo Donadeo. "As a good corporate citizen, we continually focus on safety, health and the environment and this project demonstrates Vermilion's commitment to the communities in which we live and work, including local job creation and our respect for minimizing the environmental footprint of our operations. We are very pleased to have received this recognition from the Government of France."

The partnership began in the mid-2000s, as Vermilion sought to support the local community while adding environmental value. At the same time, four local agricultural engineers wanted to create an economically and environmentally viable "eco-greenhouse" operation in which to grow tomatoes. After considerable research, and support from the local authorities, a rezoning of the land next to Vermilion's Parentis operation was realized, allowing Vermilion and the growers to sign a 25-year partnership agreement in 2008.

Today, Tom d'Aqui's 10 hectares of greenhouse use the heat from Vermilion's produced water source to create an eco-friendly environment in which to grow some 3,000 tonnes of tomatoes on the vine annually, supporting 150 local jobs and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 10,000 tonnes per year.

Here's how it works:

-- Vermilion's petroleum extraction process in the Parentis field produces a
mix of oil, gas and water, which is naturally heated to around 60degC.
-- After the oil and gas are separated out, the heated water enters a
"closed loop" system where heat exchangers transfer its caloric energy to
a second water system belonging to Tom d'Aqui (the two water systems
never physically mix).
-- The second water system heats the Tom d'Aqui greenhouse next to the
Parentis battery.
-- Vermilion reuses the produced water by pumping it back underground to
maintain operating pressures and to enhance production.

This "geothermal" heating system allows the greenhouse to be heated without carbon emissions, a key element in their certification as "eco-greenhouse." Tom d'Aqui also incorporates a 1,300-square metre array of solar panels to further reduce energy use, fully recycles all of the water used in the grow operation, and uses integrated biological protection (insect against insect) to avoid pesticide use. The tomatoes are raised on organic substrates made from coconut shells, which are completely recycled at the end of the crop cycle.

This project reduces the cost of traditional tomato growing operations in the region, allowing the producers to compete with warmer climate producers. As a member of the Rougeline tomato distribution group, Tom d'Aqui is delivering on Rougeline's consumer guarantee of healthy, high quality food, at a fair price and with respect for the environment.

The success of this project, which takes advantage of a previously unused resource within Vermilion's production process, is leading to 5 hectares of greenhouse expansion in Parentis in 2016 and creating an additional 50 jobs.

Similar value-added projects elsewhere are under evaluation to benefit both local communities and our global environment.

By the Numbers

-- 10 hectares of greenhouses built (the equivalent of more than 12 Canadian
football fields)
-- 150 local jobs created
-- 3,000 tonnes of tomatoes produced annually
-- 10,000 tonnes of CO2 saved annually

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