Biodiversity and ecosystem services

Report Jan. 5, 2021

In this article

Biodiversity and ecosystem services

Overview

ExxonMobil assesses the potential impacts of our operations on biodiversity and works to mitigate or eliminate those impacts. In making our assessments, we consider several factors, including the vulnerability of individual species, their roles in different ecosystems and habitats, and their cultural significance. We also consider potential impacts to ecosystem services—the direct and indirect benefits people obtain from the environment, such as food, water, cultural benefits and clean air. We take steps to protect important plant and animal species and their habitats by modifying our engineering design, construction and operating practices as appropriate.

ExxonMobil supports land management programs that enhance wildlife habitats and provide environmental education to local communities. For example, we collaborate with the Wildlife Habitat Council to manage 16 sites around the world, including forests, wetlands and grasslands. We work with local education programs and community programs to support biological field data collection and promotion of native species. We also contribute to research aimed at improving biodiversity management.

Little penguins breeding in their nest in wildlife. The little penguin is the world’s smallest penguin species and the only penguin permanently found in Australia.

2019 performance and initiatives

ExxonMobil periodically screens the locations of our major operating facilities using the World Database of Protected Areas, which the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre manages. In 2019, we estimated that 26 percent of our major operating sites were in close proximity to environmentally protected areas. The data informed our emergency response contingency plans and environmental business plans by identifying areas with additional protection considerations.

Decommissioning and rehabilitation

Overview

ExxonMobil’s approach to decommissioning assets varies depending on the location, type of asset and particular environmental characteristics of the site. We incorporate globally accepted best practices from other projects and expert advice from relevant stakeholders, including fishing communities, environmental organizations, recycling experts and academia.

The process of decommissioning an offshore asset presents complex challenges. Decommissioning plans must consider the specific marine ecosystem, characteristics of the facility such as complexity, size and weight, and the inherent risks of removing such facilities. Planning and preparation for decommissioning assets can start up to 10 years prior to actual execution. ExxonMobil has established a dedicated offshore decommissioning center of expertise, which is responsible for planning and managing the decommissioning of our offshore assets.

Rehabilitation is the process of safely repurposing properties that no longer support our operations. We consider the interests of various stakeholders when selecting site-specific approaches to remediate inactive properties. Our goal is to enhance the value of the asset while creating opportunities for beneficial reuse. ExxonMobil Environmental and Property Solutions (E&PS), which includes the organization formerly known as ExxonMobil Environmental Services, is our global organization that supports the remediation and stewardship of surplus sites.

2019 performance and initiatives

E&PS has managed more than $8 billion of remediation work and returned 2,075 properties to beneficial end uses since the group’s creation in 2008. In 2019, E&PS monitored approximately 4,000 active remediation sites in 26 countries.

Seismicity 

Overview

In some instances, due to geologic conditions, oil and natural gas operations may induce seismicity. ExxonMobil uses a comprehensive risk management approach to limit the risk of induced seismicity. We employ a team of experts to assess the geology and geography of a site. Teams use computer modeling and other advanced tools to understand local conditions and minimize potential impacts. We collaborate with academic organizations, government entities and regulatory agencies to share our approach on induced seismicity management.

2019 performance and initiatives

We fund research consortiums at Stanford University, the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology, and the Universities of Alberta and Calgary. These research programs are focused on better understanding the causes of induced seismicity and how to effectively manage seismicity should it occur. We provide data and technical expertise to facilitate the research. We share our induced seismicity technical processes and findings at conferences, and publish them in technical journals as appropriate. Our objective is to help regulatory agencies and other energy companies reduce the risk of seismicity from oil and natural gas operations.

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Environment

ExxonMobil’s diverse portfolio of projects requires us to work in remote and sensitive environments, including deepwater and areas of high biodiversity. Our environmental management approach is guided by an understanding of the potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts of our operations and a commitment to develop, maintain and operate projects sustainably, using appropriate standards that enable us to ‘Protect Tomorrow. Today.’

Sustainability Report

Mitigating emissions in Company operations

ExxonMobil has a robust set of processes to improve energy efficiency and mitigate emissions, including programs focused on reducing methane emissions, flaring and venting. These processes include, where appropriate, setting tailored objectives at the business, site and equipment level, and then stewarding progress toward meeting those objectives. This rigorous approach is effective to promote efficiencies and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in operations while striving to achieve industry-leading performance. 

Energy and Carbon Summary Report April 23, 2021

Water management

Sustainability Report Jan. 5, 2021

Spill performance

Sustainability Report Jan. 5, 2021