For example, in October 2012, Qatar University and ExxonMobil entered into a partnership to research industrial wastewater reuse technologies. In particular, researchers are studying phytoremediation, a process that uses select native plants to clean water in an engineered wetlands system. Treated wastewater can then be reused in non-potable applications, such as park or green-space irrigation.
The nonprofit Wildlife Habitat Council works with corporations to create wildlife habitats on their properties and conduct conservation education programs that involve employees and the local community. ExxonMobil has received the Council’s Wildlife at Work certification for several sites. These include:
- Wetlands and migratory waterfowl habitats in Louisiana. At Fifi Island, we worked with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to build oyster reefs that help stabilize the eroding coastline.
- A spawning pond for Colorado River cutthroat trout, developed more than a decade ago by employees at a facility near LaBarge, Wyo. They have continued to maintain it in cooperation with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
Policies, regulations and standards
We monitor and, where appropriate, participate in the development of sound policies, regulatory requirements and industry standards.
ExxonMobil is actively involved in numerous global, regional and local groups seeking to enhance the environment. Our Baton Rouge refinery has been an active member of a joint industry-government working group on nitrates for more than a decade. It has received awards from the Louisiana governor and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in recognition of its voluntary efforts to reduce nitrate discharges.
We also collaborate with industry groups to share environmental protection expertise and incorporate these lessons into industry wide best practices. One example is the OGP-IPIECA joint project on oil and chemical spills, of which ExxonMobil is a founding member. In cooperation with the American Petroleum Institute and others, this multiyear project is developing a broad array of guidelines and recommended practices, scientific studies, approval protocols and other supporting documents that address 19 areas for improving oil spill response capabilities as an industry. The Marcellus Shale Coalition is another example where ExxonMobil is contributing its global- and region-specific drilling experience to a joint-industry effort to develop best-practice guidelines on well construction, site reclamation, air quality and water management.
We seek to understand and respond to business-related water concerns and expectations of local communities.
Although the technique of hydraulic fracturing is not new to the oil and gas industry, the recent rapid expansion of shale oil and gas development into new communities means that industry must answer important questions about its environmental impacts. To build community trust, ExxonMobil supports the voluntary disclosure of the ingredients used in hydraulic fracturing fluids, and our disclosures appear on the publicly accessible websites www.FracFocus.org (U.S.), www.FracFocus.ca (British Columbia and Alberta), and www.ngsfacts.org (Europe).
We seek innovative solutions for addressing wastewater issues throughout our operations.
Water concerns peak during times of drought and ExxonMobil works with communities to address concerns. When snowpack failed to fill the Green Mountain Reservoir in 2002, ExxonMobil donated 5,500 acre-feet of water from its allocations to help families and businesses in western Colorado1. During a recent drought in Australia, our major facilities established water conservation teams to identify opportunities for saving water and implemented water conservation training for employees and contractors, launching projects that cut facility water withdrawals almost in half.
Community water projects
In some communities where we operate, clean water is not available on a consistent basis. As a part of our approach to starting new operations, we consider opportunities that bring benefits to the local community and our business, including potentially investing in community water projects.
For example, ExxonMobil’s affiliate in Indonesia, Mobil Cepu Limited (MCL), launched a community-based water program to reduce the incidence of waterborne diseases and promote healthier living in the Cepu Block area of Indonesia. During the dry season, many residents in this area lack reliable access to clean water. To help manage the program, the community established a committee responsible for managing the budget, constructing and monitoring water facilities, and handling distribution of water. One example is in the Ngasem Village, where a new water tower serves as the key source of potable water that is distributed to community households through an installed pipeline network. So far, the program has benefited more than 25,000 community members in 17 villages.