What are flares?
Flares are important safety devices used in refineries and petrochemical facilities. They safely burn excess hydrocarbon gases which cannot be recovered or recycled. Excess hydrocarbon gases are burnt in the flare systems in an environmentally-sound manner, as an alternative to releasing the vapour directly into the atmosphere.
During flaring, excess gases are combined with steam and/or air, and burnt off in the flare system to produce water vapour and carbon dioxide. The process of burning these excess gases is similar to the burning of liquefied petroleum gases (LPG), which some of us use as fuel for home cooking.
The use of flares is minimised to the extent that is possible. However, flaring can occur during a start-up and shut-down of any of our facilities for maintenance, and also during unplanned operational interruptions such as power outages.
When there is flaring at our facilities, we follow established guidelines to promptly inform our neighbouring companies and Government agencies such as the National Environmental Agency (NEA) and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).
There are generally two types of flares that we use at our Singapore manufacturing facilities:
What can sometimes be seen or heard in instances of flaring?
ExxonMobil is committed to ensuring that our operations run safely and with minimal impact on the community and the environment. We strive to minimise flaring, keeping it to the times that it is necessary for the continued safe operations of our plants.
When you see flaring, please be assured that flares play a key role in keeping refineries and chemical plants running safely.