The average life cycle of an oil sands project is typically about 40 years, which means we have a long-term interest in the communities in which we operate. We actively seek input from those who live near our facilities and from those who take an active interest in Shell’s oil sands business.

Communities around our oil sands operations

Shell has a long-term interest in the growth and well being of communities in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Peace River and Industrial Heartland areas in Alberta, where we have oil sands operations.

Local consultation

We consult with landowners, residents and local groups to identify their concerns and work towards solutions. To help with this we belong to several local and industry organisations including:

The Wood Buffalo Environment Association

The Mining Association of Canada “Towards Sustainable Mining” initiative

Oil Sands Community Alliance (OSCA)

Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association

Northeast Capital Industrial Association

Northeast Region Community Awareness and Emergency Response

Albian Village houses.
Albian Village houses workers near our mines

We built our own accommodation facility near our Muskeg River and Jackpine mines, 75km (46 miles) north of Fort McMurray, to house 2,500 workers.

We own and operate an airstrip near the mine site and run shuttle buses to transport workers, equipment and supplies to our site.

Investment projects

Social investment is our voluntary contribution to communities in Canada. We seek to initiate, establish and support programmes that are relevant to our business activities.

Our social investment activities are themed around science, education, innovation and business skills.

These extra investments benefit hundreds of organisations, including:

  • Fort Chipewyan Elders Care Facility – we made a $500,000 contribution to the facility, which features a cultural activity area for the traditional needs of the residents and will have a significant inter-generational component by being open to the entire community;
  • Fort Saskatchewan interpretive trails project - Shell invested a total of $400,000 to be used for re-forestation and trail enhancements of West River’s Edge in Fort Saskatchewan, as well as the construction of the Fort Centre Park Wetlands;
  • MacDonald Island Park – Shell contributed $2.5 million to construct a stadium and shared space centre; and
  • Northern Lights Health Region – Shell contributed $1.2 million to the health region’s heath improvement project for the inner city homeless of Fort McMurray.

For more than 26 years Shell has supported Indspire, an indigenous-led registered charitable organisation. Indspire invests in the education of indigenous people for the long-term benefit of these individuals, their families and communities, and Canada. Shell’s partnership with Indspire began with investments in Aboriginal post-secondary education, but has evolved into a comprehensive approach where we invest in kindergarten to Grade 12 programmes, post-secondary scholarships and events that recognise Aboriginal leadership. One of Shell’s goals is to help increase high school completion rates and boost the number of Aboriginal students pursuing post-secondary education.

In 2014, Shell was proud to be the founding sponsor of Indspire’s Industry in the Classroom: Careers in Oil and Gas module. The module is, designed to increase the awareness of careers available in oil and gas, motivating and empowering indigenous students to stay in school and plan for their futures.

More in about us

Managing CO2

We reduce CO2 emissions at Athabasca by increasing our energy efficiency and through our Quest project, which can capture and safely store more than 1 million tonnes of CO2 underground each year.