We carefully consider the potential environmental impact of our activities and how local communities might be affected during the lifetime of a project.
Highlights in 2016
- In 2016, we reduced the direct greenhouse gas emissions from facilities that we operate to 70 million tonnes on a CO2-equivalent basis. We also reduced our flaring from 11.8 million tonnes CO2-equivalent in 2015 to 7.6 million tonnes in 2016. (See also Our greenhouse gas emissions, Flaring).
- We had 71 operational spills in 2016, down from 108 in 2015, continuing year-on-year improvements in this area since 2006.
- The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Niger Delta Panel - focused on enhanced remediation techniques and protection of biodiversity at sites affected by oil spills in Shell Petroleum Development Company's (SPDC) areas of operation in the Niger Delta - completed its work in 2016. (See also Environmental partners, Our activities in Nigeria).
- We joined the Climate and Clean Air Coalition Oil & Gas Methane Partnership in early 2017 to continue making progress on methane management. (See also Managing methane emissions).
We aim to comply with all environmental regulations, continually improve our performance, and prepare for future challenges and opportunities. We use external standards and guidelines, such as those developed by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, to inform our approach.
Our global environmental standards include a focus on managing our emissions, minimising our use of fresh water and conserving biodiversity. Within our operations, we also focus on reducing our energy use, flaring less gas and preventing spills and leaks.
When planning new projects, we carry out detailed assessments of the potential environmental, social and health impacts. These assessments help us manage and reduce impacts on the environment and communities during construction, operation and, when relevant, decommissioning.
We require major installations including refineries, chemical plants, gas plants and permanently staffed oil and gas production facilities to certify their environmental management system to an internationally recognised standard, such as ISO 14001, which sets out the criteria for environmental management systems.
Managing environmental impacts in Iraq
Shell is the operator of Majnoon, one of the world’s largest oil fields (Shell interest, 45%). In 2016, Majnoon was certified to ISO14001, making Shell the first international oil company to achieve this certification in the country.
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has recognised the area of the Mesopotamian marshes north of Majnoon as a World Heritage Site. Shell works with conservation organisations such as Wetlands International and IUCN, as well as local stakeholders and international consultants, to ensure projects are developed in a way that avoids negative impacts.