IRVING, Texas -- ExxonMobil’s combined emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) have decreased more than 45% over the past 10 years across all of its businesses.
Upstream reductions. One example of how ExxonMobil has reduced emissions from its upstream operations involves Balder, one of the company’s permanent, floating production vessels stationed offshore Norway. From 2013 to 2015, the vessel’s four main power engines were converted to low-NOx systems. The conversion has reduced annual NOx emissions by approximately 21%, equal to 290 mt of NOx per year.
Downstream reductions. Another example involves ExxonMobil’s Antwerp refinery in Belgium. In 2015, the refinery began construction of a new tail gas cleanup (TGCU) system to reduce on-site SO2 emissions by more than 2,300 mt per year. The TGCU is expected to be fully operational in 2017.
ExxonMobil’s Baton Rouge refinery is the third-largest refinery in the United States, occupying 2,100 acres along the Mississippi River. In 2014, ExxonMobil upgraded its biological oxidation (BIOX) wastewater treatment system at the refinery. The investment included an additional $10 million to increase denitrification capacity. The new BIOX system became fully operational in January 2015 and has successfully cut effluent nitrate levels by 50%. The system has also helped reduce the refinery’s overall reportable releases to the environment, including air emissions, water discharges and offsite waste transfers, by 30%.
Transportation reductions. In January 2015, the International Maritime Organization reduced the cap on the sulfur content in marine vessel fuels from 1.0% to 0.1% by mass for all ships operating in emission control areas (ECA). This action has reshaped the shipping landscape, particularly in Europe and North America, spurring new demand for fuels that help marine operators comply with the cap. In response, the company introduced ExxonMobil Premium Heavy Distillate Marine 50, an ECA-compliant premium fuel that combines the low sulfur content of lighter marine oils with the lower volatility typically associated with heavy fuel oils.
ExxonMobil’s worldwide environmental expenditures in 2015 totaled approximately $5.6 billion. This included an estimated $1.8 billion in capital expenditures and approximately $3.8 billion in operating expenses. In 2015, 53 penalties, fines and settlements were paid, accounting for less than one-tenth of 1% of total environmental expenditures, or about $5.5 million.