The Scottish Environment Protection Agency slapped ExxonMobil with the fine in 2010 but the details of the reporting error – which ExxonMobil admits, and says it regrets – have just been published, the BBC reports.
The fine is Britain’s biggest ever for an environmental violation, the Scotsman reports. The paper says the fine was “buried” in the report issued last week.
It also says the company paid a second penalty of £844,765 for a similar error at a facility run by its subsidiary, Esso Petroleum Company, near Southampton in southern England.
ExxonMobil’s 2008 report to SEPA underreported emissions from its Mosmorran ethylene plant in Fife by 33,000 tons. The company said its own systems caught the inaccuracy, which it immediately reported to SEPA.
But the agency was required to levy the fine under the EU’s emissions trading program. Companies that under-report carbon emissions can be fined 100 euros, or £83, per ton.
WWF Scotland director Richard Dixon described the fine as a serious signal to other companies to report their emissions correctly. “It’s surprising that a company this big has made such a significant error,” he said.
In a statement ExxonMobil said it regretted the errors, and has now fully reviewed and improved procedures to address the problems identified.