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Meeting the world’s growing energy needs and protecting the environment requires new technology, partnerships and ways of operating. We continually look for ways to reduce the environmental impact of our operations.
Climate change and Shell
We were one of the first energy companies in 1997 to acknowledge the threat of climate change, to call for action by governments, our industry and energy users, and to take action ourselves. Our latest energy scenarios show that fossil fuels will continue to satisfy the bulk of the world’s growing need for energy for decades to come. This makes managing CO2 emissions from coal, oil and natural gas critical in addressing man-made climate change.
Our approach includes:
- Increasing the efficiency of our operations.
- Establishing a substantial capability in carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS). The underlying technologies for CCS are proven and we’re engaged in a number of projects to “learn by doing” as quickly as possible.
- Continuing to research and develop technologies that increase efficiency and reduce emissions from our operations.
- Aggressively developing low-CO2 sources of energy, including increasing supplies of natural gas and developing transport fuels, including biofuels.
- Helping manage energy demand by growing the market for products and services - like fuel economy formulations for our petrol and high-efficiency lubricants - that help millions of retail and business customers use less energy and emit less CO2.
- Actively encouraging governments to provide an effective international policy framework for managing CO2 and other greenhouse gases.
Managing environmental impacts
Preventing spills: Spills of oil and oil products can harm the environment and put our employees and neighbouring communities at risk. While spills from oil tankers attract the most public attention, they are rare.
In 2008, the ships we managed carried 40 million tonnes of cargo and there were no spills. At our operations, we have been steadily reducing the amount of oil and oil products spilled for reasons we can control, like corrosion or operational failures. Thanks to ongoing improvements in how we run and maintain our plants, these spill volumes are nearly 80% lower than they were in 1998.
Tackling air pollution from our operations: Shell has been working hard to reduce the emissions of local pollutants from our operations. This has involved a wide range of investments to upgrade facilities, install cleaner-burning equipment and sulphur dioxide capture technology.
Reducing our water use: New technology is playing a critical role in helping us reduce water use. Our Pearl GTL plant in Qatar, for example, has been designed to take no fresh water from its arid surroundings. The Schoonebeek project in the Netherlands will re-use municipal wastewater to make steam. In Oman a project is underway to plant reed beds that will clean up the 45,000 m3 of water brought to the surface daily when our joint venture produces oil.