Managing spills

ExxonMobil is committed to the prevention and elimination of spills from our operations. We seek to implement industry best practices to continually reduce the number of spills. We design and operate facilities with the objective of preventing unplanned releases from entering the environment and causing adverse effects.

Report Dec. 15, 2022



Our Spill Prevention Program establishes corporate-wide procedures for inspecting and maintaining equipment, training operators and conducting practice drills. If a spill does occur, we conduct a rapid, comprehensive response to minimize impact on communities and the environment. Our spill response research program is an industry-leading in-house program with a focus on cold-water and remote locations that also applies to local or surface spills.

At ExxonMobil refineries, we recently enhanced the existing human factors approach to reinforce the zero-spill mindset among employees. Specialists developed a best practice guide that outlines 17 high-risk elements and corresponding procedures designed to reduce the likelihood of a spill caused by human error. This guide is credited with reducing such spills by more than 36% from 2016 to 2021. 

ExxonMobil uses comprehensive integrity-management programs to oversee the transportation of millions of barrels of petroleum and chemical products over thousands of miles of pipeline around the world. For example, our pipeline affiliate in the U.S. regularly tests its pipelines to detect corrosion and other integrity concerns and uses skilled personnel in ground and air patrols, state-of-the-art systems, alarms and other techniques to continuously control and monitor pipeline routes.

In addition to prevention, we focus on maintaining a state of readiness to quickly and effectively respond to incidents resulting from our operations. To ensure that a response to an incident will be coordinated and effective, each site conducts emergency drills in accordance with regulatory requirements or management guidelines, ranging from “desktop” exercises to full-scale field drills. Annually, we conduct comprehensive multi-day drills at sites around the world, involving emergency response teams and hundreds of employees, contractors and specialists. Participants run through realistic scenarios and interact with local authorities and agencies.

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Sustainability Report