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Environmental management

Overview

We conduct our business in a manner that is responsive to the environmental and economic needs of the communities in which we operate. ExxonMobil considers risks at every stage of development, and we continuously work to mitigate those risks and improve our environmental performance. We employ an environmental management strategy to monitor our performance in five key areas, as depicted below.

Our approach requires our facilities to be designed, operated and managed with the goal of mitigating adverse environmental impacts.

Our Operations Integrity Management System (OIMS) is a management framework that helps put our Corporate Environment Policy  into action and establishes common worldwide expectations for addressing risks inherent in our business, including environmental risks.

Our approach is grounded in a scientific understanding of the environmental impacts of our operations and a commitment to develop, maintain and operate projects and decommission assets using appropriate standards.

For additional information on how ExxonMobil manages environmental performance, see the following resources:

Our approach

ExxonMobil’s projects and operations are set in a diverse range of environments that present a variety of environmental, social and health risks and opportunities. We employ structured management processes across an asset’s life cycle to ensure we effectively identify and understand the actual and potential impacts of our activities. As illustrated in the graphic below, we employ structured environmental management processes across a project’s life cycle to ensure we effectively understand potential impacts from our operations.

Our Environmental Aspects Assessment (EAA) process allows us to systematically identify, assess, manage and monitor environmental and social risks throughout the life cycle of our assets. Environmental Business Planning is undertaken to plan, oversee and steward environmental performance. New developments are typically subject to an Environmental, Socioeconomic and Health Impact Assessment (ESHIA) process. Environmental, Socioeconomic and Health Management Plans (ESHMP) are then prepared to “operationalize” ESHIAs by defining the set of measures that will be employed during development and operations to avoid environmental and social risks, reduce them to acceptable levels or remedy the impacts.

We integrate stakeholder feedback, scientific understanding and other due diligence into these processes to ensure we operate in a safe, respectful and environmentally protective manner. ExxonMobil has undertaken or participated in ESHIAs or EAAs for a wide variety of projects and activities around the world, including projects ranging from single-well exploration drilling programs to new technology evaluation pilots and large development projects.

Performance and initiatives

Up Close: Environmental management across an asset life cycle

We believe a comprehensive approach to environmental management includes a thorough assessment of potential environmental impacts. Based on these assessments, we then implement plans to avoid or reduce impacts across an asset’s life cycle.

This approach is exemplified by environmental management activities at Imperial Oil’s Kearl operations in Alberta, Canada, where reducing the environmental footprint is incorporated throughout the asset life cycle. For example, the site takes advantage of electricity generated by energy-efficient cogeneration systems, an alternative dust treatment process to reduce water usage and wastewater treatment flocculation technology for accelerated tailings consolidation.

Imperial Oil’s holistic environmental management strategy also includes progressive reclamation. As operational areas at Kearl are no longer needed, they are prioritized for reclamation to prevent erosion in the short term and to allow the land to return to its natural boreal forest state much earlier. Reclamation planners at Kearl aim to achieve a maintenance-free, self-sustaining landscape, which takes into account traditional knowledge, wildlife habitat and biodiversity. To date, more than 250 acres of land have been permanently reclaimed at Kearl.

Muskeg Lake, which is connected to and adjacent to Kearl Lake, was designed to provide spawning, rearing, feeding and overwintering habitat for native fish species. Construction of Muskeg Lake commenced in 2008 and was completed in 2010. Lake filling was completed in 2013. This is the first of three lakes that will be constructed to replace the fish habitat disrupted as operations in the area progress.

In 2016, Imperial Oil completed four years of fish and fish habitat monitoring at Muskeg Lake. Monitoring activities included sampling of fish populations to assess natural colonization and habitat productivity of the lake. Key findings indicate the population sizes and number of fish species has steadily increased from five species in 2014 to eight species in 2016.

Photo — A northern pike found at Muskeg Lake near Imperial Oil’s Kearl operations in Canada.

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