Strategic technology development
At the core of our business are several key research organizations that work collaboratively on new technologies. ExxonMobil recently established a corporate-level Emerging Energy Sources and Technologies team (EMEST), tasked with evaluating technologies either over long time horizons, or in fields outside the company’s near-term business focus. Once EMEST determines that a technology is scalable from an energy supply-demand perspective, fits with ExxonMobil competencies, and could provide the Corporation a competitive advantage or support its license to operate, the team can elect to evaluate or progress the technology in a functional research and development (R&D) program.
In addition to corporate-level research, functional technology groups support each of the business lines in guiding their technology investment. For example, ExxonMobil’s upstream research affiliate ExxonMobil Research Qatar (EMRQ) is developing a remote gas detection system that pairs infrared camera technology with a sophisticated algorithm that detects hydrocarbons. When deployed, remote gas detection will improve process safety and reduce hydrocarbon emissions by identifying leaks quickly and automatically.
Downstream Research & Engineering continually works on process enhancements to reduce flaring and associated emissions. We also invest in new technologies to improve energy efficiency. For example, the Chemical business explores novel materials and catalysts to improve energy efficiency. By using a new compound in the synthesis of butyl rubber, which takes place at very cold temperatures, Chemical Technology scientists raised the temperature at which the manufacturing process occurs—leading to considerable energy efficiency improvements.