The Esso refinery at Fawley, near Southampton, is the largest in the UK and one of the most complex in Europe. Situated on Southampton Water, it has a mile-long marine terminal that handles around 2,000 ship movements and 22 million tonnes of crude oil and other products every year. The refinery processes around 270,000 barrels of crude oil a day and provides 20 per cent of UK refinery capacity.
We are committed to the very highest safety, health and environmental standards. But we are never complacent and are always exploring ways of further improving the safety and integrity of our operations.
Safety is the first priority in all our activities and our safety performance across the Fawley site is excellent. Workers at Fawley are significantly safer than the average in the European oil and chemical industry.
Although our safety performance continues to earn us awards, we know we are not perfect. We are committed to learning from our mistakes and will not be satisfied until our operations are flawless.
We continue to improve our environmental performance. The site's emissions to atmosphere have been falling steadily. This reduction has been achieved in part by the installation of a £60 million cogeneration unit. This highly energy efficient combined heat and power (CHP) unit burns fuel at an efficiency of 75 per cent, twice the efficiency of a conventional power station. Energy efficiency improvements over recent years have led to significant reductions in emissions - equivalent to taking 250,000 cars off British roads every year.
Our record on releases of oil in water used by the refinery is also excellent. The site draws over 300,000 tonnes of sea water from Southampton Water every day, mostly for cooling purposes. When it is returned to the sea after purification it is often cleaner than when it was extracted.
The thriving saltmarsh on the seaward boundary of the site is a testament to our environmental performance. It forms a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) that is home to some 22 species of birds. The land boundary of the site is surrounded by a tree screen containing some 50,000 mature trees and shrubs, originally planted some 50 years ago.
The refinery and adjacent chemical manufacturing plant are committed to being responsible neighbours and have a well-established programme of community links in the area. A newsletter about the Fawley site, Community Matters , is distributed to local residents six times a year.