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Building community relations
Listening to residents near to our operations helps us to form strong relationships and find ways to address local concerns.
Exploring for and developing resources to help meet rising energy demand takes us into new environments. Working closely with the communities around our operations helps us to understand the potential economic, environmental and social impacts in local areas. We respond to concerns and identify opportunities to bring value to communities.
Listen and learn
At Pinedale, Wyoming, in the USA we hold public meetings to share information about the work we do, focusing on issues such as air quality, protecting water resources, conserving wildlife and habitat, and preserving cultural heritage.
Some of our staff spend time with residents, business owners, ranchers and environmental organisations discussing local areas of interest.
Following concerns over air quality several years ago, we worked with the state’s environmental department to install an air quality monitoring station.
We have taken a number of steps to limit emissions from our operations: for example, we installed catalysts on our drilling rigs to reduce nitrogen oxides, which can be a precursor to ozone forming in the Pinedale area during winter months.
Shell volunteers from Changbei tight gas operations help to teach English in a school in the Shaanxi province, China.
As part of the social investment programme for our tight gas operations in China, we met with local residents and government representatives in the Shaanxi province to understand their needs and concerns.This led to us funding a new school building and donating books and computers to aid learning.
Shell volunteers also went into the classroom to help students learn English. Many people were concerned over the lack of health care in nearby villages: we launched a medical training programme together with the local youth association and have already trained 15 doctors.
In Ukraine, where we have started drilling for tight gas,we have held a number of meetings with local communities, non-governmental organisations and local government officials to explain the way we operate and to address concerns.
We continuously engage with communities to answer questions around hydraulic fracturing, water management and the social and economic benefits of our projects – the jobs we can create and the skills we can help develop.
In view of some concerns that tight gas production can contaminate local water resources, we invited Ukrainian NGOs to witness sampling groundwater near the location of our first well.
Experts from an independent British company and NGO members gathered samples for chemical and biological analyses. These data are being used as a baseline reference to monitor the status of groundwater during construction, testing and operation of the first tight gas well in Ukraine.
Buying and hiring locally
Our operations create jobs and help build skills among local communities. At Groundbirch we help local companies develop the skills they need to work for us. We also support the Northeastern Aboriginal Skills Employment Partnership programme, contributing $40,000 annually to help train Aboriginal People for job opportunities.
In the Groundbirch area we do business with qualified, competitive local and aboriginal firms: in 2012 well over 65% of our contractor spend was local. At Pinedale we spend as much as 93% of our annual budget with businesses that have a local presence in Wyoming.
Respecting local heritage
Shell has worked with Yulin college in China to help goat farmers breed higher quality goats.
As well as bringing new jobs to regions we respect traditional livelihoods. Around our Changbei operations in China we worked with Yulin college to help goat farmers breed higher quality goats from specially selected stud goats to earn more from their farms.
We also voluntarily set up the Pinedale Anticline Livestock Permittees fund in the USA with other local operators to compensate ranchers directly affected by oil and gas activities in the area.
We are also supporting a project involving landowners, state and federal government, wildlife organisations and private industry in the Upper Green River Valley in Wyoming.
The $500,000 project studies land use and tries to find ways to balance oil and gas development, recreation, agriculture and wildlife needs – for example by improving habitat and managing water use – to conserve the environment and protect local traditions.
Forming local partnerships
We work with organisations and the government in regions surrounding our operations, in some cases helping to improve facilities for local people.
In the Shaanxi Province of China we worked with local government and funded the construction of 240 underground storage tanks and 12 pumping stations. This provided around 3,000 local people with better access to drinking water.
We have upgraded existing roads and built 100 kilometres (62 miles) of new roads, helping previously isolated villagers to travel outside the area. We also supported road safety programmes for primary school children.
At Groundbirch in north-east British Columbia, Canada, we are providing financial support to help renovate a historical post office into a new community and cultural centre for Dawson Creek and surrounding areas.
In rural areas near our Pinedale operations we work with the Wyoming Land Trust to help conserve important migration routes for antelope and mule deer.
The Trust is making it easier for these animals to move around by replacing existing fences with a design that they can easily climb under or jump over.