To do so, we develop decommissioning plans that utilize proven and cost-effective methods and consider potential risks, costs and benefits.
Since its creation in 2008, ExxonMobil Environmental Services (EMES) — our global functional organization that provides guidance and support on the remediation and stewardship of surplus sites — has managed more than $5.7 billion of remediation work and returned more than 1,800 properties to beneficial end uses. In 2015 alone, EMES monitored 5,700 active sites in more than 30 countries.
We continually seek to enhance our reclamation processes by integrating site remediation plans into life cycle planning for an asset. Our focus on site rehabilitation leads us toward innovative ways to ensure the land we use is available for environmental and societal benefits in the future.
ExxonMobil is committed to the responsible, sustainable and consistent stewardship of rehabilitated former operational sites. We support science-based, cost-effective approaches to remediation that utilize consistent criteria and seek to align the interests of a broad array of stakeholders. In 2013, ExxonMobil Environmental Services Company used an organic capping approach to treat marshland and a cove impacted by the Pegasus Pipeline incident. This technique promotes the most effective cleanup with the least environmental disturbance. Some of the affected soil and sediment in the cove was targeted for removal and reactive capping was employed in the open water area using a mixture of sand and clay. This multi-dimensional risk-based approach addresses residual sheening conditions observed in isolated areas in the western part of the cove.
Throughout the Upstream asset life cycle — from exploration to decommissioning — care is taken to limit disruptions to local communities and protect the environment. Accordingly, ExxonMobil ensures that decommissioning activities are planned and conducted to appropriately manage risks. For our fixed manufacturing assets, the same care is taken. For example, in 2015, we completed decommissioning a steam cracker at our Fawley refinery in the United Kingdom, the largest demolition project ExxonMobil has carried out in Europe.
As part of the project, ExxonMobil worked to preserve materials that could be reused or recycled for other purposes. In total, we segregated and recycled around 15,000 metric tons of materials, which represented 89 percent of all materials recovered from the demolition site. Ferrous and non-ferrous metals were sold as scrap and the concrete was crushed and reused for land reclamation. Material that was unable to be recycled was disposed of according to local regulations.
Additionally, the project incorporated environmental considerations. For example, some activities were rescheduled to avoid potential impact on nesting birds and annual bird migrations. The Fawley site also features a small population of wild bee orchids and particular care was taken not to damage the orchids during the flowering season.
Project manager, Fawley demolition
“It really is the end of an era. I hope this project can stand as an example to the petrochemical industry of how the demolition of large-scale units can be achieved in a safe and controlled manner.”