Magazine article European Business Forum

Managing Resources

Magazine article European Business Forum

Managing Resources

Article excerpt

Energy

In 2001, our total energy use was up 2% at 1,023 million gigajoules--enough to power a city the size of Paris for one year. Our goal is to continuously improve our energy efficiency. This is a challenge as we also seek to maximise recovery from existing oil and gas fields and to provide cleaner fuels to customers--both of which require more energy usage.

Energy efficiency is one of the most cost effective ways of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. In 2001, we started work with the Rocky Mountain Institute--highly respected innovators in industrial efficiency--on a pilot project in our Fredericia refinery in Denmark. Energy efficiency measures at Fredericia are expected to deliver $2 million savings per year at one of the world's most efficient refineries.

Water

The world's freshwater systems are under intense pressure. For its size, our industry is not a major water consumer, but we do use it in our refineries, chemical plants and forestry operations.

In 2001, we began to measure how we manage our use of fresh water--defined as water having a salinity of less than 400 mg/l. More than 90% of the 1.7 billion cubic metres reported is used as cooling water. We are also looking at new technologies that will enable oil to be produced without bringing water to the surface, as well as potentially commercial opportunities for using this water (see case study right).

Waste

We seek to use materials efficiently and avoid waste, but where this is not possible we try to reduce, recycle or reuse waste materials, (see case study, page 15).

The total waste we produced in 2001 was 897,000 tonnes compared to 890,000 tonnes in 2000. About half is classified as hazardous waste, mainly oil-based and synthetic mud and cuttings, sludges from water treatment and tank cleaning and spent catalysts, which are disposed of to landfill or incinerated. Many of our operating units set local programmes for waste reduction.

Legacies

Our commitment to protecting the environment continues after our operations finish. We have an obligation to clean up old sites that were unintentionally contaminated. In Brazil, Shell is providing free health examinations and offering to buy homes in a community in Paulinia, in recognition that many people are worried about the possible effects of insecticide contamination from a Shell plant that was sold in 1993.

Remediation activities are continuing on the manufacturing site to further improve and preserve environmental conditions to internationally accepted standards. Concerns in the community were raised after claims were made that people's health was being damaged. These claims were later considered by a group of eminent, independent physicians and toxicologists who investigated the evidence. …

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