Tight and shale gas plant in Canada

Safety steps

At Shell, we have decades of experience with this technology and we continue to follow strict measures to protect drinking water supplies.

We line the wells with steel pipes and cement them in place from the surface to below the level of the drinking water. These barriers help to contain the fracturing fluid and, along with the depth at which we fracture, prevent the fluid from mingling with drinking water close to the surface.

During operations we monitor wells with pressure sensors to check they are firmly sealed. We also monitor the fractures and the fluids, which helps make production as efficient as possible and protects the environment.

Proven techniques

In the USA, nearly one million wells have been hydraulically fractured since the process was first introduced. However, as the oil and gas industry enters new areas, local communities are becoming concerned over production activities and fracturing in particular.

Studies by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Ground Water Protection Council have shown that the process is safe.

A 2012 study by the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering for the UK government also concluded that hydraulic fracturing is safe “as long as operational best practices are implemented and robustly enforced through regulation”. A European Parliament report on the environmental impacts of shale gas and shale oil extraction, supports its findings.