Improving air quality

ExxonMobil recognizes the importance of clean air to our communities and implements emission reduction initiatives, including those that reduce nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds at our operated assets corporate-wide. From 2017 to 2021, total emissions of volatile organic compounds, sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides decreased by approximately 21%. Our emission-reduction initiatives reduced flaring volumes by 31% corporate-wide during this same timeframe.



Improving air quality
Image United Nations Sustainable Development Goals related to this content.
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals related to this content.


As part of our commitment to improving air quality, we evaluate the potential impact of our emissions to the communities where we operate. Based on these insights, we advance appropriate capital projects and initiatives while working with regulatory agencies to assess and address potential air quality issues.

Our environmental management approach includes policies and procedures at our operational sites to identify and control air emissions. For new projects, we apply our Project Environmental Standards, which guide our facility designs and operations as we produce energy and products to meet society’s needs.


ExxonMobil’s approach to air quality management includes:

  • Understanding the composition and extent of our emissions.
  • Meeting or exceeding environmental regulations.
  • Reducing air emissions to minimize potential impacts on local communities.
  • Monitoring the science and health standards related to air quality.


Management and application

Our corporate-wide initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including reducing flaring, also have the potential to further improve air quality by lowering non-GHG emissions. 

We install controls at combustion sources to reduce nitrogen oxides emissions. In addition, sites such as Imperial Oil Ltd.’s Canadian refineries have invested in equipment upgrades to reduce sulfur oxides emissions. Our affiliate's refinery in Antwerp, Belgium, changed the configuration of its sulfur recovery unit in 2019 and reduced its sulfur oxides emissions by more than 50%.


From 2017 to 2021, total emissions of volatile organic compounds, sulfur oxides, and nitrogen oxides decreased by approximately 21% and we reduced flaring volumes by 31% corporate-wide.  Operational throughput at ExxonMobil operated sites decreased as a result of lower demand during the global pandemic. This had a directional impact on air emissions.  As throughput increased during 2021, air emissions also increased, but at a lower than historical level as a result of emission-reduction initiatives.  

For historical data on ExxonMobil’s air emissions, please see the performance data table

Air emissions

Air emissions from ExxonMobil operated assets only.