Man testing water samples

The availability of fresh water is a growing challenge in some parts of the world. It is important that society – along with Shell and others in the oil and gas industry - protects and preserves this valuable resource and manages its use in a responsible and sustainable way.

Managing water more effectively

We design and operate our facilities to help reduce their fresh water use. We manage our water use carefully, and we tailor our use of fresh water to local conditions because water constraints affect people at the local or regional level.

In water-scarce areas, we develop water management plans for our facilities. These plans describe the long-term risks to water availability and define measures to minimise our use of fresh water or recommend alternatives to fresh water, such as recycled water, processed sewage water and desalinated water.

For example, at our gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant in the Qatari desert, we clean and reuse industrial process water. This means that we avoid using the country’s scarce natural water resources.

On Pulau Bukom, a small island south of Singapore - a country with limited water supplies - we use recycled water and converted sea water for steam generation at our refinery and we reuse our process water. This means we rely less on water from mainland Singapore, which frees up resources for use by local residents.

Using technology to improve efficiency

Technology helps us to improve water efficiency within our own operations. Our global virtual water community connects Shell’s water experts globally to share experiences. We work in collaboration with top universities and global technology companies, as well as with organisations such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and IPIECA, the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues.

For example, we are working with Wetsus, one of the top water research organisations in the Netherlands, on the development of advanced technologies to increase recycling and reuse rates.

Adapting to climate change and creating green infrastructure

Falling Water Drops Background

Reusing and recycling water

We take steps to manage our use of water responsibly – including looking for beneficial ways to recycle and reuse this valuable resource.

Read how we manage water responsibly
Reed beds in Oman

A natural filter for water

In the Omani desert, reed beds are being used to naturally clean water produced as oil extracted, before it evaporates.

Find out more about Nimr reed beds

MORE IN Sustainability

Air quality

We take steps to reduce airborne pollutants from our operations and help customers reduce their impact on air quality by using our products.


Our projects can affect local natural habitats and communities that depend on them. Read about our work on biodiversity around the world.

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