Community Engagement Practices

ONEOK is committed to supporting the stakeholders where we operate, and where our employees live and work, by fostering relationships between our company, our employees and the community.

We strive to operate our businesses in a manner that recognizes the Environmental, Safety and Health (ESH) expectations of each of our key stakeholders, including governments and regulatory agencies, the communities in which we operate, landowners, Indigenous/Native American People, customers, employees and contractors, nongovernmental organizations, industry associations and investors. Through regular engagement, we hope to develop constructive relationships with our diverse stakeholder group. We also work with community organizations and provide resources designed to address the social, economic and environmental interests of key stakeholders.

Overview of ONEOK's Commitment to Community Engagement on Projects

Commitment to Safety

Pipelines are among the safest and most efficient methods of transporting energy resources. ONEOK safely operates an extensive network of natural gas liquids and natural gas infrastructure from the Canadian border to the Texas Gulf Coast. 

Fostering a zero-incident culture is part of ONEOK’s safety commitment. This commitment applies to the design, construction and operation of our pipelines. Our pipeline construction meets or exceeds government and industry standards. In accordance with government regulations, pipelines are inspected with various integrity tools and/or pressure-tested prior to being placed in service. Once operational, ONEOK pipelines are consistently monitored using sensors and communications technology and/or undergo regular inspections to promote operational integrity. 

Commitment to Supporting Communities 

ONEOK currently employs nearly 2,900 people companywide, and the company is committed to investing in the communities where it operates and where its employees live and work. Since 2015, ONEOK has invested more than $33 million in corporate and foundation contributions within our footprint. 

Additionally, ONEOK has generated thousands of construction-related jobs throughout the execution of our projects. Since 2017, ONEOK has invested approximately $7 billion for the construction of more than 1,500 miles of pipelines and multiple NGL fractionation and natural gas processing facilities across our operating areas. At the height of project construction in 2019, ONEOK had 11,500 contractors working on these projects. Once the projects are completed, communities continue to benefit from tax revenues supporting public services and schools.

Commitment to Working with Communities and Landowners

When applicable, we conduct public meetings as part of our project outreach to connect with various stakeholders. At these meetings, general project information is presented, and company representatives are available to answer stakeholder questions related to the project. Our government relations team also conducts outreach with legislators and elected officials in the areas where we operate to provide information on our various projects. Additionally, a toll-free hotline is posted on the company’s website to allow for additional stakeholder feedback on our projects.
ONEOK is committed to evaluating pipeline routes designed to minimize impacts to communities and the environment. We also strive for proactive and meaningful dialogue with landowners, in order to provide accurate and timely responses to their questions or concerns. 
Our right-of-way teams work with landowners to establish easement agreements, which grant permission for the construction, operation and maintenance of our asset on their property. This takes a team of employees and contractors covering all 18 states in which ONEOK operates.  Landowner engagement and communication does not stop following construction. Once a pipeline is operational, our company and employees are committed to maintaining good relationships with landowners.

Commitment to Engagement with Indigenous/Native American People

ONEOK recognizes the diversity of Indigenous/Native American People and is committed to creating and sustaining respectful relationships with Indigenous/Native American People in areas where we conduct business. We are dedicated to operating in a socially and environmentally responsible manner, carefully considering potential impacts of business operations on local communities and natural and cultural resources.

The cooperative nature of engagement with Indigenous/Native American People in business and community projects aligns closely with ONEOK’s core values—Ethics, Quality, Diversity, Value and Service—which guide our actions towards achieving mutually beneficial outcomes for all our stakeholders.

Where necessary and applicable, ONEOK facilitates external engagement according to the following practices:
  • Acknowledging that mutual trust and respect are fundamental to transparent communication.
  • Recognizing Indigenous/Native American People and their communities may be affected by our existing operations and future projects.
  • Committing to good faith engagement and communication through collaborative relationships.
Commitment to Environmental Protection and Compliance

ONEOK complies with applicable federal, state and local law in connection with the construction, operation and maintenance of our assets. Before a significant pipeline project begins, the route undergoes an extensive environmental review and permitting process. ONEOK surveys portions of the route to identify and minimize potential impacts to environmental and cultural areas. Surveys may also involve conducting studies of local wildlife, water and soil conditions. 

Environmental responsibility is a core tenet throughout all phases of ONEOK projects – from development through restoration. Two recent examples are in North Dakota, where ONEOK is working with the nonprofit Plantings for the Future to replant trees removed during pipeline construction. As part of the Bear Creek Natural Gas Liquids Pipeline project, ONEOK assisted financially with replanting approximately 20,000 trees in 2018. For the Demicks Lake NGL Pipeline project, ONEOK will be assisting financially with the planting of two trees or shrubs in place of each one removed – in all, ONEOK expects to fund the planting of approximately 2,000 trees and 10,000 shrubs. 

Contact Information

Brad Borror
Media Inquiries

Danette Welsh
Government Relations
(Wyoming and Montana)
Michael Gillaspie
Government Relations
(Colorado and Kansas)
Anne Billingsley
Government Relations
Dusty Darr
Government Relations

General Project Information