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What is REACH?

REACH is the European Union (EU) regulatory system for chemicals, including petroleum substances used in our fuel and bitumen products. It came into force on 1 June 2007. By 30 November 2010, all substances manufactured or imported in quantities of over 1000 tonnes per year must be registered with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). This includes all substances used in our fuels and bitumen products.

Registration of product uses

Registration of Shell products under REACH will include the registration of specific product uses. Downstream users of our products are responsible for reviewing the product-specific use information and deciding whether it describes the way in which they use the products. If, however, the products are being used in a way that is not described, your feedback is invited, so we can consider supporting the use.

Exposure scenarios

For substances used in our fuel and bitumen products, we have to demonstrate that a registered use is safe. This is done by carrying out a risk assessment that compares the estimated exposure for each use against a level that may be considered safe for health and/or the environment. If safe use cannot be demonstrated, then the registration of a specific use cannot be supported and advice must be given against this use.

The information describing the nature of exposure and the recommended risk management measures for the various identified uses will be documented in an Exposure Scenario and communicated to customers through an extended Safety Data Sheet.

Identified uses

REACH requires that most of the work to prepare registrations is carried out jointly by all EU manufacturers of the products concerned. So the list of identified substance uses has been prepared by the association of oil refiners, CONCAWE, with the aim of covering the common uses of our products which we propose to support. The list can be accessed via the following link:

How to review and respond to information on uses

Our customers have an important part to play in helping to ensure we have a full picture of the uses of our products. This not only ensures that uses are correctly submitted as part of our registrations but that the exposure scenarios take known uses into account and provide the appropriate risk management measures.

So, what should customers do to support this process?

  1. Become familiar with the basics of how use information is documented. This is explained in the ECHA Use Descriptor System
  2. Go to the product use lists. Review the titles and scope covered by the listed Exposure Scenarios. Consider whether this reflects your uses of that substance - and beyond, down into the supply chain. If you recognize your operation here, you can expect that your uses have been addressed.
  3. If necessary, share all of this use information further into the supply chain (the manufacturer or importer’s responsibility stops at sharing information with their immediate customers).
  4. If, on completing your review, you think you use the product in a way that is not covered in a use descriptor, we welcome your feedback. Please provide as much information as you can on your use of the product, but do NOT provide confidential information on the commercial application of the product or any other commercially sensitive information.