ExxonMobil lands £2.8m fine for failing to report CO2

Oil giant ExxonMobil has been slapped with a fine of £2.8m for failing to report carbon dioxide emissions of 33,000 tonnes from its chemical plant in Fife, Scotland.

The fine, which was imposed in 2010, has only just been revealed by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and relates to an incident in 2008 when ExxonMobil failed to account for 33,000 tonnes of CO2 from its ethylene plant in Mosmorran.

Under environmental regulations imposed by the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), companies which fail to report their greenhouse gas emissions can be fined Euro100 per tonne of unreported emissions. As a result, it thought to be the largest fine for any environmental offence in British history.

An ExxonMobil spokesperson told edieEnergy that its Fife Ethylene Plant had “identified and reported an inaccuracy” in the reporting of emissions to the regulators in 2008, adding it has now “fully reviewed and improved our verification procedures to address the issues we identified”.

However, they added that the inaccuracy accounted for just 4.7% of the site’s total and that the root cause was the “incorrect mapping of routing with facilities”.

SEPA operations director Calum MacDonald, said: “We have a good level of compliance with operators across Scotland, and I believe that, in most cases, working with operators to raise their awareness of environmental requirements will achieve the desired outcomes and protect the environment.

“However, as these figures show, SEPA will not shy away from using our formal enforcement tools where necessary.”

As a result, WWF Scotland are hoping it will “act as a warning” to other companies that they must comply with green regulation.

WWF Scotland director Richard Dixon, said: “It is very embarrassing for a company as well resourced as ExxonMobil to have to admit that they can’t fill in forms properly, let alone to get fined nearly £3m for their mistake.

“This is the biggest but there have been other examples of companies under-reporting their contribution to climate change. The whole point of the European trading scheme is to limit the total climate pollution coming from industry, so it is quite right that fines should be high for those who fail to comply.”

Carys Matthews

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