How We Operate

Shell believes we can safely and responsibly explore, develop and produce shale resources where hydraulic fracturing technology is used. In support of that commitment, Shell has five operating principles that focus on safety and protecting water, air, wildlife and members of the communities where we operate.

While these principles are applied globally across Shell, we also consider each project independently—from the geology to the surrounding environment and communities—and design our activities using technology and innovative approaches that are best matched to local conditions.

Here are some examples of how we deliver on these principles in Alberta Light Tight Oil:

1. Shell designs, constructs and operates wells and facilities in a safe and responsible way

We have strict company standards for our well and facility designs. Before we begin to drill, we conduct a hazard assessment to analyze risks and develop control measures to reduce those risks. We use at least two barriers in the section of all oil and gas wells that pass through the drinkable groundwater aquifer to isolate the hydrocarbon production stream inside the wellbore, and do not hydraulically fracture a well unless we have pressure tested for wellbore integrity. We do not use diesel in our hydraulic fracturing fluids, and support regulation that requires suppliers to release information about chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluids (visit

2. Shell conducts its operations in a manner that protects groundwater and reduces potable water use as reasonably practicable

At the present time, we’re using fresh water, wastewater and treated effluent to meet our immediate needs. In fact, Shell has an agreement with the Town of Fox Creek to use their treated waste water in our completions operations. As part of the agreement, Shell has helped fund a water infrastructure project in the town and uses approximately 400,000 m3 of the town’s wastewater in our operations. Over the long term, we’re looking at ways to reduce our fresh water intake.

3. Shell conducts its operations in a manner that protects Air Quality and controls Fugitive Emissions as reasonably practicable

Across our operations, we have leak detection and repair programs in place which involves using infrared cameras to check for fugitive emissions and fix any leaks that are detected. We’re also using our own fuel gas in our operations to reduce emissions.

4. Shell works to reduce its operational footprint

In development planning, we engage early on with First Nations to understand traditional land use areas and to help avoid disturbing culturally sensitive areas or areas used for traditional purposes such as fishing, hunting or trapping. When possible, we use existing corridors and previously-disturbed land to reduce our overall surface footprint.  We also participate in local operator groups to collaborate with our industry partners, to minimize impacts.

5. Shell engages with local communities regarding Socio-Economic impacts that may arise from our operations

In Alberta Light Tight Oil, we pursue opportunities to train and hire staff locally. We also actively work with local and Indigenous businesses to help them become certified contractors that meet Shells’ stringent safety policies.