Shell has an approximately 80% working interest in Groundbirch, which produces approximately 500 million standard cubic feet per day of natural gas from the Montney formation and has an expected field life of more than 35 years.

The natural gas produced from the Montney formation is situated 2,500 metres below ground, trapped within a mixture of siltstone and shale. We use hydraulic fracturing, creating hairline cracks to unlock the natural gas that’s tightly trapped in the tiny pores of the rock.

Shell acquired the Groundbirch assets in 2008.

A red dot pin points the Groundbirch operational area on a map of B.C. and Alberta
Map of Groundbirch operational area

Location: About 50 km south of Fort St. John, British Columbia

Products: Sales gas (methane), natural gas liquids and condensate

  • Sales gas is used for heating homes and offices.
  • Natural gas liquids (NGL) include propane, butane and ethane.
  • Propane is sold to domestic and United States distributors for heating, crop drying, auto fuel and petrochemical feedstock.
  • Butane is shipped to refineries where is used as a gasoline blending component and as a fuel in products such as butane lighters and curling irons.
  • Ethane is shipped by pipeline to petrochemical plants where it is used as a "building block" for a variety of chemicals and plastics.
  • Condensate is used by refineries to produce gasoline and diesel fuel.

Facilities: Shell’s Groundbirch asset includes facilities for water and fluid handling, oil batteries and gas processing. The asset has more than 500 producing wells and four natural gas plants along with the associated infrastructure.

Contact information: 1-888-384-6465

Learn more: From seismic testing in exploration to natural gas production and distribution into your home, learn more about our development.

Lifecycle of an Onshore Well

Operating Principles

Our five aspirational operating principles focus on safety, environmental safeguards, and engagement with nearby communities to address concerns and help develop local economies. We are working towards making all of our Shell-operated onshore projects where hydraulic fracturing is used, to produce gas and oil from tight sandstone or shale, consistent with these principles.

We consider each project – from the geology to the surrounding environment and communities – and design our activities using technology and innovative approaches best suited to local conditions. We also support government regulations consistent with these principles that are designed to reduce risks to the environment and keep those living near operations safe.

Learn about how we use the principles for projects we operate and projects where Shell is involved, but not the operator, in the full principles guide.

Onshore Operating Principles:


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


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


  • Shell conducts its operations in a manner that protects air quality and controls fugitive emissions as reasonably practicable.


  • Shell works to reduce its operational footprint.


  • Shell engages with local communities regarding socio-economic impacts that may arise from its operations.

Read about how the On-Shore Operating Principles are being applied in North America.

Shell On-Shore Operating Principles in Action North America Methane Fact Sheet (PDF, 224 kB)