COVID-19: Shell’s global response
May 29, 2020
While many countries are starting to ease out of lockdowns and showing early signs of recovery, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a serious impact on people’s health and livelihoods around the world. Shell is working hard to assist in the global fight against the virus, and to support recovery efforts.
One of Shell’s most significant roles continues to be keeping energy supplies flowing, both during lockdowns and as countries start to open businesses and schools. Beyond this, we estimate that Shell’s total contribution during the pandemic, including donations of funds, fuel, food, equipment and services, so far amounts to more than $30 million.
Our priority remains to support our colleagues, our customers and the communities where we work through these unprecedented times.
We have taken many steps to protect the health of our colleagues, including requiring or encouraging office-based staff to work from home, depending on the advice of local authorities. We are providing the technology support to ensure up to 70,000 people can work from home each day.
For people working on our platforms offshore, or our facilities onshore, we continue to enforce social distancing and carry out health screening, and have procedures in place to allow the safe evacuation of any suspected cases of COVID-19.
Similarly, in our global network of retail stations, we are enforcing social distancing, carrying out deeper cleaning and putting in place other protections such as screens for till operators.
Our confidential counselling service is available to help colleagues experiencing the psychological impact of the pandemic, and we continue to provide extra online resources to help people manage their physical and mental well-being.
A Shell worker wears a protective face mask at a refinery in the Netherlands
We have business continuity plans in place at each of our operating sites to sustain our operations and supply chains, so that we can continue to provide vital energy products to countries and communities, businesses and individuals.
Across the world, our forecourts are staying open and helping to keep crucial services, such as ambulances, emergency vehicles and deliveries, on the roads.
Shell is doing many things to keep our customers safe at our retail sites. These include carrying out enhanced cleaning operations, increasing stocks of sanitation products and other essential goods, and social distancing.
We are working with business customers to meet demand for essential hand and surface cleaning products. At our manufacturing plants at Pernis in the Netherlands and Sarnia in Canada, for example, Shell is diverting resources to make isopropyl alcohol as fast as we can. This chemical ingredient makes up about half the content of hand-sanitising liquids.
Encouraging people to wash their hands in Malaysia
We are supporting efforts by communities to halt the spread of the virus.
For example, Shell has donated $3 million to the COVID-19 Resilience Fund set up by Mercy Corps, a global humanitarian and development organisation working in more than 40 countries.
The fund will pay for essential aid to help people living in fragile economic circumstances and in countries affected by conflict around the world. This includes providing clean water, reliable information, personal protective equipment and money to buy food.
In the Netherlands, we are making 2.5 million litres of isopropyl alcohol available free of charge for the health-care sector. We are donating 125,000 litres of isopropyl alcohol to the Canadian government for use in health-care facilities.
In the USA, we have donated isopropyl alcohol to customers for use in the manufacture of disinfectant wipes for hospitals, among other uses. And in Turkey, we are donating isopropyl alcohol for processing into hand sanitiser to be distributed to hospitals under the direction of the Ministry of Health.
In Africa, our joint venture in Kenya owned by Shell and Vivo Lubricants has converted a blending plant for lubricants into a plant producing hand sanitisers for the government.
We are helping people working on the front line of the fight against the virus in other ways. At more than 15,000 of our retail sites, in more than 30 countries, we have donated over 2 million free food or drink items to more than 1.5 million health-care professionals such as nurses and doctors, as well as truck drivers and delivery people who are vital to maintaining supplies.
We are also offering free fuel to health-care providers and ambulances in countries including Brunei, Bulgaria, Mexico, the Netherlands, Oman, Poland, Russia and Turkey.2
In the USA, Shell TapUp, a mobile fuel service company, is providing fuel to charities that offer food to vulnerable people. This includes Meals on Wheels in Houston, Texas and Columbus, Ohio, as well as food banks serving Columbus, Houston, and Newark, New Jersey.
Shell is also providing 2.5 million meals* to help fight hunger in communities in need through a donation of $250,000 to Feeding America, a non-profit network of food banks.
We are offering different kinds of help where we can. For example, the Pilipinas Shell Foundation (PSFI), the social investment arm of Shell companies in the Philippines, has started a programme to help farmers who have struggled to get their produce to markets during the lockdown.
PSFI bought farm produce at fair market prices, then transported the fruit and vegetables to donate to groups providing meals to front-line workers. So far, the programme has provided more than 400,000 meals. We have also donated food packages to more than 11,000 households in communities near our operations
Also in the Philippines, many health-care workers have struggled to travel to work since public transport was stopped due to the lockdown. We provided free fuel to 98 buses for a month to transport more than 2,000 health-care workers.
In Singapore, volunteers from Shell have started two programmes with Lakeside Family Services, a non-profit organisation. The first is a virtual befriending programme where volunteers check in every week on elderly people living on their own or with minimal support. The second is a virtual tuition programme for underprivileged primary school students whose education is affected by the COVID-19 lockdown.
In Brazil, we have made a donation to support the construction of a field hospital in Rio de Janeiro, through the Brazilian Petroleum Gas and Biofuels Institute, a trade association. The hospital, which will be built by Rede D’Or, a health-care company, will have 200 beds, including 100 intensive care units, to care for patients with COVID-19.
The Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Innovation (RCGI), co-funded by Shell and the Sao Paulo Research Foundation, has also helped develop an emergency lung ventilator for people infected with COVID-19. The RCGI lab conducted the tests needed for official accreditation of the ventilator, which can be manufactured more quickly and at a lower cost than conventional ventilators in Brazil.
Also in Brazil, the Santos Dumont supercomputer – one of the 200 most powerful supercomputers in the world – has been made available to scientists researching the COVID-19 pandemic. Owned by Petrobras, it was initially designed to process oil and gas data. Following investment to expand its processing capacity by the Libra consortium, led by Petrobras in partnership with Shell (20% interest) and other companies, the computer can perform up to 5.1 quadrillion calculations per second.
Elsewhere, Shell has joined forces with engineering, 3D printing and injection-moulding experts from across Europe to form a cohort helping to provide vital personal protective equipment to the health-care sector. In the UK, Shell is set to deliver around 2,500 reusable face visors made by this group of companies to the NHS Grampian Trust in Aberdeen, Scotland.
In Canada, we have produced 2,700 reusable face shields using a 3D printer at Shell Scotford, a chemicals and refining complex, for use by provincial health-care authorities. And in the Philippines, PSFI donated 3D printers to the Batangas State University. So far, the university has 3D-printed 70 face shields, which have been sent to a local hospital.
In Nigeria, Shell is part of a group of oil and gas companies, led by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, that has donated around $30 million to the Nigerian government to help support health-care facilities. Shell and its partners contributed around $3.2 million.
Nigerian off grid impact investing company All On, seeded with funding from Shell, has also provided $500,000 to support four renewable energy companies in Nigeria in providing solar power to emergency health centres being set up to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Elsewhere, in Iraq, the Basrah Gas Company (BGC, Shell interest 44%), has distributed 700 food parcels to underprivileged families in Basrah and its districts, in collaboration with the Iraqi Red Crescent Society, a humanitarian organisation, and Ecolog International, a BGC contractor. Each parcel contains essential food items for a month’s consumption.
And Shell in the UK is making a series of monthly donations to foodbanks close to its main operating sites. The funds will be shared across foodbanks in the five communities around Shell’s offices and gas plants.
In India, we are providing around 9,500 care kits to ambulance drivers and truck drivers stranded at state borders by the countrywide lockdown. The care kits contain food and hygiene essentials, including soap. We are also distributing around 3,000 hygiene kits to UberMedic drivers, part of a service by Uber to provide health-care workers with transport, and to other drivers providing essential services.
We are providing around 17,000 grocery kits to vulnerable communities and daily wage workers around Shell-branded retail sites and our operations in eleven cities and six towns in India.
Shell’s community clinic in Hazira has waived consultation fees to help deal with increased pressure on health-care facilities in the area. And Shell in India is providing grocery items to community kitchens in the city of Surat. These community kitchens are providing meals to stranded migrant workers who have faced significant challenges since the start of the lockdown.
In Pakistan, Shell is working with Lifebuoy, a Unilever brand of antibacterial soap, on a campaign to raise awareness of the need for handwashing. Customers and staff will take part in awareness sessions at 50 Shell-branded retail sites. And Lifebuoy will provide a 30-day supply of soaps to an additional 50 Shell-branded sites.
Also in Pakistan, lockdown has severely impacted the earnings of mechanics. We have distributed safety kits and packages containing a month’s food to more than 65 mechanics in Karachi, Islamabad-Rawalpindi and Lahore, Pakistan’s three biggest transport centres.
In the USA, Shell has donated to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) to support minority university students whose education has been affected by COVID-19. We are also supporting minority and woman-owned businesses through a donation to the Urban League of Louisiana, a non-governmental organisation that is providing virtual educational seminars on ways to survive the economic downturn.
In Bolivia, the national lockdown and remote location of two communities near one of our projects meant their food provisions were running low. Through FAUTAPO, a non-governmental organisation, we have provided food packages to the 70 families in the communities. Also through FAUTAPO, we have supplied a group of seamstresses in a town near our exploration well with materials and training to make face masks. We bought the first 300 masks and provided additional material so the seamstresses could continue to make and sell the masks locally.
We will continue to focus on helping to keep people around the world safe and healthy. And we will provide regular updates on our response as the situation develops.
1,2 Local terms and conditions apply.
*$1 helps provide at least 10 meals secured by Feeding America on behalf of local member food banks, according to Feeding America.
More on Shell’s response to COVID-19
This is a moment like no other we have experienced before. But the world will overcome.
We have increased production of some of the key ingredients that go into soaps and sanitisers.