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.