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We are working to minimise the environmental impact of our operations. Local communities and experts from leading environmental organisations help us better understand the challenges we face in developing major projects. This helps us improve the way we operate.

Population growth and rising living standards are driving energy demand, contributing to increased environmental stresses. We are sharpening our efforts to reduce the potential impact of our operations on the environment. This approach becomes even more crucial as the search for oil and gas to meet demand takes us to more environmentally sensitive areas.

Our early project plans and decisions include measures to protect the environment. We work to manage CO2 emissions, use less energy and water, prevent spills, flare less gas produced with oil, and conserve biodiversity.

We are striving to improve our energy efficiency. We are also helping to develop a capability in capturing CO2 emissions and storing them deep underground. We continue working to reduce continuous flaring in our operations. Flaring is sometimes needed to keep operations safe, especially when projects start production, but we are working to reduce this operational flaring.

Spills can harm the environment and put our employees and neighbouring communities at risk. We work to reduce spills through rigorous controls and standards, and by making sure our facilities are well designed, safely operated and regularly maintained.

As water resources become more constrained due to growing populations, the way major industries manage their use of fresh water is becoming more important. We use new technologies and recycling processes to reduce our dependence on fresh water. In water-scarce areas, our operations have water management plans that set out how we monitor and reduce water use.

Protecting the diversity of the natural world is crucial when we consider new projects or expansions to our existing facilities. We carry out biodiversity assessments when we plan projects to measure the potential impact of our operations. We work with local communities and environmental organisations to develop action plans to avoid this impact if possible, or to minimise it (see opinion, below). By the end of 2011, we had nine of these action plans in place and we are developing plans in Australia, Iraq, Nigeria and South Africa.

Josef Tumbrinck, Chairman of Naturschutzbund (NABU) NRW (Conservation Association North Rhine Westphalia), Düsseldorf, Germany (photo)


“The co-operation between Shell’s Rhineland refinery and our organisation has been exemplary throughout an entire project to lay a pipeline. Openness and co-operation played a major role during the planning of the pipeline between the two refinery sites, from the beginning. Our questions and suggestions were always well received and we felt we were dealt with in an honest way. Our proposed changes were taken seriously. After discussions with us and other environmental associations, Shell modified its plans significantly in the interests of conserving biodiversity. At the same time, the project has strengthened the local economy. Together, we achieved a great deal. Such a level of co-operation should serve as a benchmark for other industrial projects in this region.”

Josef Tumbrinck
Chairman of Naturschutzbund (NABU) NRW
(Conservation Association North Rhine Westphalia), Düsseldorf, Germany