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Partnering to protect wildlife in Gabon

Shell Gabon is working in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution to understand more about biodiversity and the impact of energy development in Gabon.

The Gamba-Ivinga, Bende-Mbassou, Totou and Rabi-Kounga oil fields are sandwiched between two National Parks and are rich in biodiversity.

In 2001 Shell Gabon joined with the Shell Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution to set up the Gabon Biodiversity Program. The programme has produced a four-year inventory of plants and animals – and threats to it – across the Gamba Complex of Protected Areas. Research included looking at the effects of Shell Gabon’s activities on habitat and wildlife, such as stress levels in elephants and insect numbers.

In the second phase of the programme (2005 onwards), the Smithsonian Institution is using the knowledge gained, to give practical recommendations to support Shell Gabon in limiting the impact of its operations.

Protecting bird migration routes

Over 50 million birds migrate over the North Sea, with just enough fat reserves to keep them going. Any delay to their journey is dangerous and light from oil platforms could distract them – so we helped to find a solution.

Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM) and Philips spent over two years jointly developing new lights, avoiding the red that distracts migratory birds. Since the lights were installed in 2007, the number of birds circling the platform declined by over 50%. NAM also participated in a project on the island of Ameland where the ferry landing and part of the public road system was equipped with bird-friendly lighting. Both projects won the national round of the European Environmental Press award in 2008.

Funding whale satellite tracking studies

Shell biodiversity in action

Shell Brazil’s investment in whale programmes helps scientists to learn more about the whales and the ways it can help to protect them.

Shell Brazil has been funding a whale-monitoring programme since 2002.

It involves an international team of scientists that study the whales’ behaviour – how they travel, their behaviour during migration, what type of waters they prefer, and where they feed in the western South Atlantic Ocean.

The study aims at providing information how oil and gas production activities influence the whales’ behaviour.

The results of the study could help the Brazilian government to establish environmental and conservation management strategies.

Pinedale natural gas project

Shell in the US is working closely with regulators and the community to reduce its operational footprint on the Pinedale Anticline natural gas field.

The Anticline is one of the USA’s largest natural gas resources. It is also rich in biodiversity. Mule deer, pronghorn, sage grouse are common.

As the field is developed, programmes are in place to help conserve wildlife and habitat. These include support for studies on the potential effects of gas development.

Engineers limit the disturbance of wildlife habitat and the impact of their operations to produce tight gas by drilling several wells from one location. They gather water produced with the gas in a pipeline system and reuse some of it, which helps reduce truck traffic and use of fresh water.

Once development of an area is complete, teams restore the land to match its surroundings while the wells continue to produce. This includes planting a mix of seed to more quickly reintroduce sage brush, the staple diet of local wildlife.

Monitoring effects of gas extraction

Monitoring the effects of subsidence due to gas production in the Wadden Sea region Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM) is a Shell-operated joint venture that produces gas in the Netherlands, including in protected areas around the coast in the Wadden Sea and on Ameland island. In these areas gas production is causing subsidence.

NAM has been working with the Ameland subsidence monitoring supervisory committee since 1986. They provide financial support to the monitoring and associated biodiversity research programme. This is the longest integrated ecological research project on the impact of subsidence worldwide. This research has provided more insight into the ecological response to a local, accelerated rising of sea levels (up to a rate of 1.5 metres every 100 years).

View the results.

In 2007 the committee launched a second long-term monitoring programme covering more gas reservoirs under the Wadden Sea and Lake Lauwers, another protected area.

Every year the monitoring data and reports are published and audited (Dutch only).

Protecting biodiversity in the Niger Delta

Biodiversity in Niger

The Shell Petroleum Development Company Ltd (SPDC) is working to help protect the Urhonigbe and Gele-Gele Forest Reserves from the effects of human activities.

The Urhonigbe Forest Reserve is located in Edo State, Nigeria. The reserve includes a Strict Nature Reserve (SNR) or forest core that houses endangered plants. The SNR remains relatively undisturbed but farmers have encroached on the rest of the reserve, significantly degrading the land.

Located in the South Western part of Edo state, the Gele-Gele Forest Reserve includes a range of ecotypes varying from fresh water swamp forest to tropical rain forest. SPDC has well heads and pipelines located in Gele-Gele and near Urhonigbe forest reserves.

Working with the Nigeria Conservation Foundation, SPDC has implemented biodiversity action plans to help protect these areas. These include provision of alternative livelihood projects for communities and re-forestation of the degraded forest.

SPDC has also initiated the development of biodiversity action plans in three other forest reserves; Taylor Creek, Andoni and Stubbs Creek in the Niger Delta.

A new biodiversity strategy for SPDC has been developed. It focuses on consolidating biodiversity action planning around the Gbaran-Ubie projects and contributing to the preservation and restoration of mangrove ecosystems.

Operating in a wildlife refuge

In Louisiana we are educating the public about the wildlife refuge found here and working to minimise the impact of our operations.

Shell Pipeline Company LP owns and operates pipelines within the boundaries of the Delta National Wildlife Refuge and the Jean Lafitte National Park in Louisiana. These pipelines operate under the provisions of pipeline right-of-way permits granted in the 1930s, 1950s and 1960s. The company is working to minimise the effects of its activities in the refuge, during and after operations.

This work is part of a biodiversity action plan, designed to help conserve plants and wildlife.

Working to limit the impact of our oil and gas plant

On Sakhalin Island, Sakhalin Energy has been working to minimise the impact of constructing and operating its liquefied natural gas plant. This is part of a larger network of integrated oil and gas facilities.

Sakhalin Energy's biodiversity action plan sets out its approach to managing biodiversity and ecological impacts from the construction process and during operations on the island. Significant effort has been made to avoid or minimise potential impacts on biodiversity interests during planning and construction of the project and will continue into the operational phase.

This work is part of a biodiversity action plan, which sets out actions to comply with biodiversity requirements and help conserve plants and wildlife.