ExxonMobil proactively works to identify areas of potential risk, take necessary steps to minimize opportunities for spills and continually strive to improve risk management, operations integrity and containment capabilities.
ExxonMobil’s spill prevention program aims to strengthen procedures, build in layers of protection, inspect and maintain equipment, train operators and conduct tests and drills. We take a rigorous approach to assessing and managing the potential impacts of a spill on water or land with a particular emphasis on risk management, operations integrity and containment capabilities. If a spill does occur, we ensure a rapid, comprehensive response to minimize impact on communities and the environment.
Performance and initiatives
We reported our best-ever performance for number of spills in 2017. We had 7 percent fewer than 2016. Since 2011, ExxonMobil has reduced the absolute number of spills greater than 1 barrel by more than 55 percent across our global operations. The total volume of hydrocarbons spilled on soil and water was 6,900 barrels in 2017, and more than 65 percent was recovered at the spill sites. The majority of these spills did not affect third parties or the nearby communities. ExxonMobil has made significant improvements in spill performance as a result of strategic efforts such as targeted flowline replacements and preventive maintenance.
Offshore oil spill response
A significant number of our Upstream operations are located offshore. We have developed specialized capabilities and procedures to improve offshore oil spill response and risk mitigation. ExxonMobil has the industry’s only dedicated, in-house oil spill response research program, which includes a focus on cold water and remote locations such as the Arctic.
ExxonMobil has participated in and provided technical leadership to several joint industry projects to enhance the industry’s offshore spill response capability. These initiatives include the American Petroleum Institute joint industry task force, the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers Arctic oil spill response technology joint industry program and an IPIECA joint industry project. Since 2011, ExxonMobil has been an active member of the Marine Well Containment Company, an independent nonprofit company that provides well containment equipment and technology in the deepwater U.S. Gulf of Mexico. These initiatives enable us to share best practices and learn from our peers as well.
Performance and initiatives
ExxonMobil maintains well control through proper well design, appropriate controls, barriers and well-trained personnel. We regularly conduct well-control training that includes a mix of classroom discussion and simulation exercises. Additionally, we are currently studying two new barriers for well control, one using high-pressure seawater and another using a polymer plug to stop the flow of fluids. If existing controls and barriers fail, these barriers can be applied to maintain well control.