Shell Canada (“Shell”) is a subsidiary of Netherlands-based Royal Dutch Shell plc (RDS) and one of Canada’s largest integrated oil and gas companies. Its wide-ranging operations include exploring for and producing oil and natural gas, as well as processing, refining, marketing and distributing oil and gas products.
Despite Shell’s recent divestment of much of its holdings in the Alberta oil sands, the company continues to hold significant assets in fracked shale gas and oil in Alberta and British Columbia (BC), in offshore oil on Canada’s east coast and in retailing gasoline and related products, as well as interests in liquefied natural gas (LNG) production in BC. These assets and investments put Shell on our Top 50 list as an emitter.
Assets: US$407.1 billion20
Production (Canada): oil, natural gas liquids and oil sands: 125,038 bbl/d; natural gas: 615.148 MMcf/d; total: 227,563 boe/d21
Number of employees: 4,00022
Memberships: Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, International Emissions Trading Association, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, European Round Table of Industrialists, Fuels Europe, International Association of Oil and Gas Producers, American Petroleum Institute, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, Australian Industry Greenhouse Network, Business Council of Australia, Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, Western States Petroleum Association, European Chemical Industry Council, IPIECA,23 Canadian Fuels Association
Shell Canada began its operations in 1911, when the Royal Dutch/Shell Group incorporated its Canadian business, establishing a bunkering plant and gasoline tankerage facility in Montréal. In 2007, majority shareholder Royal Dutch Shell plc purchased all remaining shares of Shell Canada, making it a wholly owned subsidiary.1
|Euroclear Nederland (Securities Account)||NL||24.30|
|Bank of New York Mellon Ltd.||US||16.61|
|Capital Group Co. Inc.||US||7.97|
|Chase Nominees Ltd.||GB||3.96|
|Vanguard Group Inc.||US||3.64|
Included are all shareholdings of 1% and greater. Source: Orbis Database, October 2018.
While Shell is perhaps best known as a gasoline retailer, it has also been one of Canada’s largest oil and gas producers. As of 2016, it was producing approximately 304,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, ranking fifth among all Canadian producers.2 In May of 2017, Shell sold the majority of its oil sands assets to carbon giant Canadian Natural Resources Limited, for nearly US$7.3 billion.3
The following year, Shell fully divested its assets from CNRL for a further $4.3 billion.4 Shell Canada’s oil sands divestment is closely tied to the US$50 billion acquisition of BG Group by RDS in 2016.5 The deal made RDS the second-largest carbon company in the world (behind only ExxonMobil) and created the world’s largest trader of LNG.6 Along with this acquisition, RDS plans to divest as much as US$30 billion from its oil assets globally.7 While oil sands divestment has diminished the scale of its Canadian operations, Shell continues to be a major player in Canada’s carbon extractive sector. Indeed, oil sands divestment has allowed Shell to refocus its accumulation strategy on expanding shale oil and gas operations in BC and Alberta.8
Shell first became a major player in the production of fracked shale gas and shale oil in Canada with its 2008 purchase of Duvernay Oil Corporation for C$5.9 billion. Through the acquisition, Shell secured over 450,000 acres of landholdings in both the Duvernay formation of central Alberta and the Montney formation of northern Alberta and BC.9 Some of Shell’s landholdings and other gas assets were sold to Tourmaline Oil in 2016, but Shell continues to expand production in the regions. Recent expansion has continued to focus on shale oil production in the Duvernay region, where the company added approximately 20,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2017.10 The company also continues to actively pursue the development of an LNG export industry in BC through its 40 per cent ownership stake in LNG Canada (with the remainder held by PETRONAS, PetroChina, Korea Gas Corporation and Mitsubishi).11 The consortium aims to build and operate an LNG export terminal in Kitimat, BC, which would cost approximately $40 billion, and require the further construction of a new gas pipeline and upstream natural gas assets to provide fuel for the facility.12 While some commentators cite Shell’s oil sands divestment as a strategic move toward cleaner and less polluting resources,13 the environmental benefits of fracked shale gas and oil and LNG are known to be highly dubious.14
Like that of many op emitters, Shell’s climate action emphasizes the role of technology to reduce the emissions intensity of fuel during extraction and production. It also operates the carbon capture and storage facility Quest that captures over a million tonnes of carbon per year from its oil sands operations and injects it into deep underground wells. Shell Canada received over $865 million from the federal government (through Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Energy Fund) and the Province of Alberta to carry out the project.15
In 2016, Shell Canada’s owner, RDS, laid off close to 12,500 workers, citing weak oil prices and diminishing earnings. 16 Amid growing job cuts the RDS chief executive officer, Ben van Beurden, saw his overall pay package grow by 54 per cent in 2016, totalling €8.6 million.17
Learn more about Shell Canada at LittleSis.org
The intent of the Corporate Mapping Project database is to engage Canadians in a conversation about the role of the fossil fuel sector in our democracy, by “mapping” how power and influence play out in the oil, gas and coal industries of BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Ron Bousso, “BG Shareholders Give Shell’s $52 Billion Acquisition Final Nod,” Reuters, January 28, 2016, https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-bg-group-m-a-shell/bg-shareholders-give-shells-52-billion-acquisition-final-nod-idUKKCN0V61X9.
Countries of operation: Canada
Revenue: US$305.2 billion18
Shell., Annual Report, 2017, https://reports.shell.com/annual-report/2017/consolidated-financial-statements/statement-of-income.php.