Main content | back to top
How we operate in the Arctic
The Arctic’s remoteness and harsh conditions require a range of advanced technologies to develop resources safely. It has a unique environment and is home to indigenous people who depend on the land and sea for their livelihoods. We have 50 years’ experience of operating safely and responsibly in the Arctic.
Shell’s extensive experience in the Arctic has helped us to develop the technology and expertise needed to tackle extreme conditions safely and to operate responsibly in this sensitive environment.
Our major Arctic and subarctic projects
In Alaska, USA, and in Canada we have been exploring for and developing oil and gas prospects for decades. Most recently, in 2005 and again in 2008 in Alaska we acquired a large number of exploration leases in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas respectively.
With the Sakhalin Energy Investment Company Ltd we have built the world’s largest integrated oil and gas project on Sakhalin Island in Russia’s Far-East.
We are also working with Gazprom Neft to develop and produce oil from the Salym fields in remote Western Siberia.
In Norway we are producing gas from the deep-water Ormen Lange field at one of the world’s most complex projects. It sends gas by pipeline directly from the seabed 120 km to an onshore processing plant.
The technology we use here could also be applied to developing Arctic deep-water resources. In 2010 we gained lease blocks in the Baffin Bay area of Greenland.
And our experience includes developing ways to meet the challenge of the icy conditions of Kazakhstan.
Shell projects in arctic conditions
We are investing heavily in our operational plans in Alaska and we continue to build strong relationships with local communities and others such as governments, regulators, non-governmental organisations and academics.
Our collaborative agreements with the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Wetlands International, the Nature Conservancy and First Peoples Worldwide provide independent expert information on social and environmental risks and opportunities when we prepare for operations in sensitive areas such as the Arctic.
In 2006 we also used a system in the Arctic known as a strategic impact assessment that considers environmental aspects in our decision making.
The range of technologies we have developed helps to produce Arctic resources responsibly and with limited environmental impact. These include technologies to prevent and respond to oil spills in ice; to reduce noise that can affect marine mammals; and that allow us to operate safely in ice.
We are also conducting Arctic research projects alone and with industry partners linked to the environment and indigenous people.
Learning more about the Arctic’s changing environment
Shell uses a range of approaches to gather more information on the Arctic environment. It uses this information to help guide its operations – such as where to lay pipelines – to limit the impact of its operations.
You might also be interested in:
If your browser is unable to play the audio track, please download one of the files listed below directly. Our player requires support for HTML5 audio or for you to have Flash installed to view this content.
Download the latest Flash player from Adobe.