ExxonMobil Baytown

Environmental Progress Report

What we're doing to protect tomorrow, today.

Environmental Progress Report

For more than 100 years, ExxonMobil has played a proud role as a community partner and environmental steward, and 2021 was no different. With one of the largest refining and petrochemical complexes in the world, we are continuously optimizing our processes to minimize emissions, enhance energy efficiency and maintain the highest standards for environmental care. Ultimately, our goal is to prevent environmental incidents and improve our environmental performance. Continue reading to learn what we’ve accomplished in the past year to drive environmental progress in the Baytown area and what we’re planning to do in the future.

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What we've done

Emissions reductions we've achieved between 2015 and 2020:

 

2020 was the Baytown Refinery’s best-ever year in terms of Title V, air reportables, and land and water reportables.

37 %

reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from hydrocarbon flaring at the Baytown Chemical Plant1.

33 %

reduction in emissions incidents requiring regulatory agency reporting at the Baytown Chemical Plant

43 %

reduction in emissions requiring regulatory agency reporting at the Baytown Complex.

These reductions were all achieved while the Baytown Olefins Plant’s production increased by 55%.

Air quality improvements in the greater Houston area

Greater Houston ozone nonattainment area

1985

A large part of the greater Houston area experienced high levels of ozone.
Image 1985
Data provided by Houston Regional Monitoring

2021

In 2021, ozone levels continued to show improvement.
Image 2021
Data provided by Houston Regional Monitoring

What we're doing

Driving a lower carbon future for Baytown

ExxonMobil’s Low Carbon Solutions business – launched in February 2021 – is advancing plans for more than 20 new carbon capture and storage (CCS) opportunities around the world to enable large-scale emission reductions, including a major opportunity in Baytown: the Houston Ship Channel hub concept. 

What is carbon capture and storage (CCS)?

CCS is the process of capturing CO2 that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere from industrial activity and injecting it into deep underground geologic formations for safe, secure and permanent storage.

Why CCS?

CCS is one of the only technologies that could enable some industry sectors to decarbonize, such as the refining, chemical, cement and steel sectors. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the International Energy Agency agree that CCS is one of the most important low-carbon technologies required to achieve societal climate goals at the lowest cost.

Why the Houston area?

It’s a major industrial area with large, hard-to-decarbonize sectors that are near safe and available CO2 storage sites in offshore geologic formations. The storage capacity along the U.S. Gulf Coast is around ~500 billion metric tons of CO2, which is equivalent to more than 130 years of the total U.S. industrial and power generation emissions. The concept also supports the city of Houston’s climate ambitions to become carbon neutral by 2050.

The concept by the numbers

Houston CCS concept could capture:

~50M

metric tons of CO2 emissions per year by 2030.

The equivalent of taking

20+M

cars off the road

~100M

metric tons of CO2 emissions per year by 2040.
Would require a collective investment of

~$100B

to reduce emissions at a lower cost to society, protect current jobs and potentially generate tens of thousands of new jobs.

CCS infrastucture could effectively decarbonize one of the country's largest concentrated sources of industrial emissions.

Bringing hydrogen to Baytown, Texas

ExxonMobil is planning a world-scale blue hydrogen plant and one of the world’s largest carbon capture and storage projects at our integrated refining and petrochemical complex in Baytown, Texas. The new plant could generate up to one billion cubic feet of hydrogen per day, delivering low-carbon fuel to Baytown area operations and other Houston-area facilities.

watch to learn more about

Blue Hydrogen In Baytown, Texas

What is blue hydrogen?

Blue hydrogen is a low-carbon product manufactured from natural gas. The CO2 generated during the manufacturing process is captured and stored permanently underground. The result is clean-burning hydrogen that produces no CO2.

Replacing natural gas with hydrogen at the Baytown olefins plant could reduce the integrated complex's CO2 emissions by up to 30% compared to current operations. This further supports the company's ambition to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 1 and 2) across our operated assets by 2050. The International Energy Agency sees hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuels meeting 10 percent of global energy needs as part of its "Net Zero by 2050" scenario.

Where does CCS fit in?

The carbon capture and storage project included in this plan would be one of the world’s largest, capable of storing up to 10 million metric tons of CO2 per year – equal to the emissions from more than two million cars. This carbon capture and storage facility would mark ExxonMobil’s initial contribution to the Houston CCS hub concept. 

What’s next?

Evaluation and planning for the Baytown project are ongoing and, subject to stakeholder support, regulatory permitting and market conditions, a final investment decision is expected in two to three years.

View an illustration of how hydrogen works at Baytown

progressing advanced recycling

Advanced recycling

ExxonMobil is building its first, large-scale plastic waste advanced recycling facility in Baytown.

Upon completion of the large-scale facility, the operation in Baytown will be among North America’s largest plastic waste recycling facilities and will have an initial planned capacity to recycle 30,000 metric tons of plastic waste per year. Operational capacity could be expanded quickly if effective policy and regulations that recognize the lifecycle benefits of advanced recycling are implemented for residential and industrial plastic waste collection and sorting systems.

Image

  • A molecular conversion

    Advanced recycling, also called chemical recycling, refers to technologies and processes that can enable us to molecularly convert difficult-to-recycle plastics into virgin-quality raw material used to make a wide range of valuable new products – and potentially repeat that process over and over again.
    A molecular conversion A molecular conversion
  • Benefits of advanced recycling

    Advanced recycling is a necessary complement to mechanical recycling to help reduce plastic waste in the environment. Each time plastic is mechanically recycled, it degrades in performance. Plastic can also become contaminated when it is recovered from waste streams, so there are limitations on food contact for some mechanically recycled plastics.
    Benefits of advanced recycling Benefits of advanced recycling
  • Potential emissions advantages

    Using plastic waste as feedstock for refineries and chemical plants creates identical final products, but with potentially lower GHG emissions versus traditional fossil fuel-based feedstock. Both advanced recycling and mechanical recycling have a GHG emissions advantage over incineration, which is a common method to dispose of plastic waste, particularly in the developing world.
    Potential emissions advantages Potential emissions advantages

footnotes

1 Data between 2016 and 2020.

2 Emissions intensity is calculated as the total emissions of a particular pollutant divided by some measure of production; and is typically represented with units of (tons emissions/100 tons production). “Production” is based on crude feed to the facility (refining sites) or total production of major products from the site (chemical sites). Variation in methods to determine “production” makes emissions intensity useful to compare relative emissions between similar sites (i.e. asset class), but less useful to compare sites with significant differences.