Science shines the way to sustainability

There are few challenges more important than meeting the world’s growing demand for energy while reducing environmental impacts and the risks of climate change.

This is an issue that ExxonMobil takes seriously and, as with most of the significant challenges facing our industry over more than a century, the best path forward in dealing with environmental issues is technology-based.

“We have a clear way of looking at all issues,” said ExxonMobil Senior Environmental, Regulatory and Socioeconomics Consultant Anthony Carling.

“We look at the sound science behind the issue. We look at cost-benefit considerations, and we advocate for clear regulatory frameworks and free markets to deliver the best outcomes.

“So when we are looking at environmental issues we are considering them through that lens. Are they supported by sound science? Is there a need for action? And if there is a need for action, what’s the appropriate way to achieve that?

“Fossil fuels are going to continue to be needed for many years to come, but only those corporations which have demonstrated superior environmental performance will have a social license to be able to continue to participate in that space.

“ExxonMobil will be thinking through very deeply how we will maintain that social license.”

The company’s commitment to environmental responsibility goes beyond compliance with regulatory requirements.

We take considerable steps to minimise the environmental footprint of our own operations and we are an active contributor to a range of organisations that conduct important environmental research, conservation and education programs.

“As we mark 50 years of oil and gas production from Bass Strait, we have much to be proud of in our environmental history,” said Esso Australia SSHE Manager Suzanne Elliott.

“Detailed scientific analysis over the years has shown that there has been no significant impact on the Bass Strait marine environment from our platform operations.

“In the late ‘90s, a group of scientists conducted a series of water quality tests around our Bass Strait platforms and concluded that the risks to water-dwelling animals around the platform discharges were low.

“In 2016 a study focusing on understanding how platforms’ produced-water discharge may interact with the seabed sediment and sediment-based marine animals found that there had been no significant impact. 

“At last month’s APPEA Conference, Environmental Engineer Katrina Hall presented the results of a new study into the marine effects of produced formation water discharge in Bass Strait. Again this confirmed the findings of the previous studies.

“Throughout the years people at all of our sites work hard to ensure we continue to operate in a manner that meets the increasing social licence to operate expectations of our community.

“The results of their efforts are reflected in the findings of these Bass Strait studies, as well as the fact that after half a century our Long Island Point Plant continues to operate harmoniously in a designated Ramsar wetlands of international significance.”

Environmental Services Asia Pacific Manager John Mikac said that the company worked to protect the environment throughout the entire life cycle of our assets.

“This continues through decommissioning and remediation activities,” he said. “We ensure that these are planned and conducted to appropriately manage risks and, where possible, create beneficial use opportunities for our communities.”

“In 2018, our Australian and New Zealand Environmental Services team completed site remediation and reclamation activities on 21 cases and transacted or returned 16 sites to beneficial use.”

In his current role Anthony Carling gets to work with high-level teams dealing with environmental challenges, as well as security and socio-economic challenges, around the world.

“I’ve been really impressed with how the corporation deals with those issues,” he said.

“They recognise that we need to produce energy for the planet, but we also have a social responsibility to care for and look after the local population and the local environment.

“The passion that I see in the organisation with some of the people that I deal with – it’s heart-warming, really impressive.” 


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