According to the release, ExxonMobil has reconfigured its manufacturing operations in Louisiana to produce the highly-demanded hand sanitizer as a response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This includes increasing its monthly production of isopropyl alcohol by about 3,000 tonnes at its chemical manufacturing facility in Baton Rouge and purchasing additional ingredients and modified equipment to package and distribute the hand sanitizer at a lubricants plant in Port Allen, Lousiana.
"The ingenuity and dedication of our employees to develop a consumer-ready product in record time demonstrates ExxonMobil's commitment to help those in need during the global pandemic," said Darren Woods, chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon Mobile Corp., in a statement. "We're focused on keeping our people and communities safe while supporting frontline responders and meeting customer needs."
According to the release, initial plans include the production of 160,000 gallons of hand sanitizer—enough to fill 5 million four-ounce bottles—to be distributed to health care providers and first responders across Louisiana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas. The press release also states additional donation locations are planned.
"To stand up an entirely new process and supply chain in a matter of weeks, while maintaining ExxonMobil's high standards for safety and quality and in compliance with [Food and Drug Administration] requirements is truly remarkable," said Karen McKee, president of ExxonMobil Chemical Company, in a statement.
In addition to hand sanitizer, ExxonMobil has also increased its capacity to manufacture specialized polypropylene by about 1,000 tonnes per month—enough to enable production of up to 200 million medical masks or 20 million gowns. The company is also participating in a technology collaboration to rapidly redesign and manufacture reusable personal protection equipment, or PPE, such as medical face shields and masks, the release states.
To keep employees safe while producing chemicals vital for hand sanitizer and PPE, Todd Spitler, operations media manager for Exxon Mobil Corp., said the company has taken several precautions, including enhanced cleaning procedures, social distancing and modified operating practices at its facilities worldwide.
"We have been carefully tracking our global workforce and have implemented restrictions on business travel; in some locations, employees are working remotely," Spitler said in an email. "ExxonMobil has a 14-day work-from-home policy for individuals traveling from locations with sustained community transmission, as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."
Locally, through the company's $450,000 Meals & Masks program, ExxonMobil's Houston campus is also distributing grants for personal protection equipment, or PPE; delivering meals to first responders; supporting local food banks and bolstering local restaurants.