Business Footprint

Shell’s Upstream operations in British Columbia are mainly focused on the development of the Montney formation in Shell’s Groundbirch asset, which is located approximately 50 kilometers south of Fort St. John. Shell owns roughly 250,000 gross acres (230,000 net acres) of Montney rights in Groundbirch and a significant portion of the land base is part of a joint venture with PetroChina Canada Ltd, with Shell holding 80% and PetroChina holding 20%. In February 2017, Shell increased its footprint in the Groundbirch area by acquiring approximately 45 net sections – approximately 30,000 acres – of Montney assets from Repsol Energy.

Shell employs an average of approximately 130 staff and field contractors in the Fort St. John office and four plant locations with additional field contractors supporting through service agreements.

Commercial Activity

Since Shell started operations there in 2008, our well count in Groundbirch has increased from about 150 to more than 500. We also operate four natural gas processing facilities, with an average production of approximately 515 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscf/d). In the near term, our focus is on safely maximising production and reducing costs with our existing infrastructure. This provides the foundation for building a sustainable operation that can deliver value to Shell and Canada for decades.

Key Data (2019) Values
Net Acreage ~ 230,000
Type of Asset Dry gas
Rigs 0-1
Production >500 mmscf/d

Safety Performance

Shell puts the safety of its staff, contractors and communities first, and will not pursue operations in the Montney if they cannot be conducted in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. We have stringent safety standards in place covering personal, process and transport safety and expect our employees and contractors to meet these standards. While safety performance at Groundbirch has improved since 2012, our ultimate target is Goal Zero – no harm to people and no leaks. We continue to focus on strengthening our safety culture through our Health, Safety and Environment team, meaningful safety engagements and learning from past incidents.


Shell implements its Onshore Operating Principles across its shales portfolio. These principles cover safety and well integrity, air quality, water protection and use, land use and engagement with local communities. These principles are designed to manage or mitigate impacts related to our operations. As we continuously look for ways to improve our environmental performance, we’re pleased to report that we have virtually eliminated the need for fresh water in the Groundbirch asset by increasing use of local wastewater. We’ve also reduced our greenhouse gas emissions in Groundbirch by electrifying our gas plants and converting our drilling rigs and completion spreads from diesel to gas.

Social Investment

The Montney formation’s expected field life is over 35 years, and we are invested in creating long-term benefits for the communities in which we operate. Since 2009, we have contributed more than CAD $5.5 MM to local social investment initiatives and supported the United Way of Northern British Columbia by giving more than $350,000 via employee donations matched by Shell.

Community Engagement

Shell values the relationships we have with the communities close to our operations, and we work to engage with our neighbors to address their concerns and seek input through open houses and formal feedback channels. Indigenous communities are important community partners, and we are committed to ongoing engagement with them. As an example, we work with local Indigenous communities to incorporate their knowledge on native plant species into our reclamation practices.

Asset Contact Information

Community Feedback Number: 1-888-384-6465