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Sustainable water use in our facilities

Water is used in refining and petrochemical manufacturing operations, mainly for steam generation and process cooling.

Our operations are designed to use alternative water sources, where appropriate, and we constantly seek opportunities to replace, reduce, reuse and recycle water. 

ExxonMobil applies processes and technology to manage our water use sustainably and prudently, in order to minimize impact on the environment.

Replace and Reduce
Seawater cooling is one sustainable way of minimizing freshwater use in our operations. We started using seawater cooling in our Singapore operations in the 1970s.

Today, we apply seawater cooling extensively at our expanded petrochemical complex on Jurong Island. 

Building a world-class seawater intake cooling system instead of traditional cooling towers at our new polymer units, we were able to reduce our freshwater demand by about five million gallons a day. This amounts to almost nine Olympic-sized swimming pools of water use reduction a day or about 10 percent of total Jurong Island water demand, based on figures from 2013. The use of this technology is driven largely by the availability of seawater around our manufacturing site.

We also apply the use of air fin fans to our cooling processes, thereby reducing the size of water cooling towers. 

In Singapore, fin fan cooling at the chemical plant has allowed us to free up almost 300m3/hour of valuable freshwater and treated wastewater, which can be directed to other uses. 

Recycle and Reuse
Apart from seawater cooling and fin fan cooling, another water-saving measure that we use is the membrane bioreactor (MBR) technology that treats wastewater so that it can be reused for cooling. 

The use of this technology in Singapore started in 2013 when the expanded petrochemical complex came online, and was a first in the ExxonMobil circuit. In 2016, about 55 per cent of MBR-treated water was recycled as cooling water. 

We continually explore innovative and sustainable options to manage water use in our Singapore facilities prudently. 

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