Functional excellence

An extensive history of running a complex global business with a focus on the long term has led to a strong culture of consistently doing the right things, the right way, at a high standard. Living this philosophy and learning from our collective experiences has resulted in a deep knowledge in critical disciplines and industry-leading execution capabilities. These strengths manifest themselves in all facets and functions of our business through a disciplined and consistently executed approach.

Report April 2, 2019

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Functional excellence

Operational excellence

We rigorously apply management systems worldwide to ensure consistent application of the highest operational standards. Our Operations Integrity Management System(OIMS) provides a systematic, structured, and disciplined approach to manage risk and drive accountability for safety, security, health, and environmental performance across business lines, facilities, and projects.

To meet the expectations established by OIMS, we leverage global best practices across all of our businesses to standardize work processes that eliminate or mitigate significant safety, health, or environmental risks. Examples of these best practices include the application of electrical isolation, confined space entry, and crane and lifting operations.

In addition, our competency assurance systems provide structured processes to ensure personnel have the knowledge and skills to operate and maintain facilities in a safe and effective manner. To support this objective, simulators, virtual reality, and experiential training allow employees to experience real-life situations in a controlled environment, reinforcing their understanding of risks and safeguards. Training equips our employees with the skills and knowledge to respond appropriately to circumstances that could lead to serious events.

Employees effectively manage the complexity of our manufacturing facilities around the world.

A process console operator, for example, will undergo up to three weeks of training on a simulator as part of his or her learning curriculum to ensure the appropriate level of competency. Across our Upstream, we have identified more than 6,000 critical positions that require rigorous training to develop and maintain core competencies. In addition to the competency of individuals, we also evaluate the overall capability of our teams. At our manufacturing sites, when assessing the competency level of functional teams, we evaluate succession plans for anchor positions, which are staffed by highly skilled individuals who provide organizational memory and serve as coaches, mentors, and problem solvers. These anchor positions account for approximately 15 percent of our manufacturing workforce.

Best practice development

A series of global networks provide the platform to develop best practices and drive performance improvement. These networks leverage the deep knowledge base and scale of ExxonMobil and create a collaborative problem-solving approach. Our global manufacturing network, for example, involves leaders and technical experts from across our businesses and covers such dimensions as safe operations, operational excellence, operator training, and environmental performance.

Over $1 billion of project savings in manufacturing

We also look externally to identify and implement best practices. We are implementing enhancements identified from a recent comprehensive, multiyear review of our process safety practices compared to those employed by companies in the oil and gas, specialty chemicals, nuclear power generation, and aviation industries.

functional excellence

Project management - U.S. Gulf Coast Growth Venture (GCGV)

Experts from procurement, research and development, and Chemical organizations worked together to develop a rail and pipeline terminal solution for a new petrochemical project on the U.S. Gulf Coast. The cross-functional team executed a complex commercial strategy to reduce cycle times, meet an aggressive project schedule, and reduce costs. A flexible contracting strategy and unique synchronization of construction, combined with a long-term operational contract, allowed third-party logistics experts to capitalize on their deep technical expertise to shape the design. This integrated approach resulted in a unique design, captured efficiencies in design and operations, and will deliver state-of-the-art terminals.

Superior project execution 

A rigorous approach to project development, supported by decades of large-scale project experience across multiple geographies and resource types, is enabling key developments like Guyana, where the pace of project execution is outperforming industry averages.

We apply project learnings and experience in the Upstream to the Downstream and Chemical business lines as well. For example, Upstream project development expertise is facilitating modular development of a future petrochemical complex in San Patricio, Texas, in the United States. Modular development – a common practice in Upstream projects – involves constructing equipment off-site at a lower cost, and then transporting it to the site fully built. We also successfully utilized this practice in the construction of the Antwerp delayed coker and the Rotterdam advanced hydrocracker. This process of modular development improves project execution efficiency and lowers costs by sourcing construction globally.

We aggressively identify efficiencies and cost reductions during project design and development, such as the implementation of facility-related optimizations that reduce plant complexity. In Downstream and Chemical projects, these efforts delivered significant value in 2018, with more than $1 billion in savings via design and execution optimization. For example, an integrated team with personnel from our Chemical, research and development, and procurement organizations partnered to design a control center for a grassroots plant in Baytown. Visibility into strategic supplier offerings allowed the cross-functional team to identify an alternative approach by using a modular designed control center, which resulted in a cost-competitive alternative to the traditional stick-built design, with savings of 50 percent. This concept establishes a benchmark going forward, resulting in a step-change in new control center construction design.

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Technology has led to the development of industry-advantaged assets, processes, products, and applications. We invest in fundamental science and research, leading to advances in existing processes and products, as well as new discoveries. This allows us to meet the evolving needs of society, lower operating and project costs, and develop higher-value processes and products.

Digital Annual Reports Report April 2, 2019


The size and breadth of our business provides a critical foundation for long-term success. It enables investments in the development of advanced technologies by leveraging benefits across a large base of operations. Facilities and businesses operated consistently around the globe accelerate experience and learning – replicating innovations, improving effectiveness, and driving down cost. Our size allows us to pursue a wide range of value-accretive investments across the commodity price cycle – specifically taking advantage of counter-cyclical opportunities.

Digital Annual Reports Report April 2, 2019