Shell Canada
Shell Station photo,

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.

Why the top 50?

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.

Key Stats


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

In Depth

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


Shareholder Country Ownership
Share (%)
Euroclear Nederland (Securities Account) NL 24.30
Bank of New York Mellon Ltd. US 16.61
Capital Group Co. Inc. US 7.97
BlackRock Inc. US 7.27
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

Climate Strategy

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

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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.

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  1. “Shell Canada 100 Year Milestones,” Shell Canada, accessed April 30th, 2019,
  2. “Oilweek 2017 Top Producers,” Oilweek, accessed June 15, 2018,
  3. After the sale, Shell continues to own a 10 per cent interest in the Athabasca Oil Sands Project. Shell Canada, “Shell Divests Oil Sands Interests in Canada for Net Consideration of US$7.25 Billion” (news release), March 9, 2017,
  4. Giblom, Kelly, and Ben Sharples, “Shell Sells out of Canadian Natural Resources for $4.3 Billion.” Financial Post, May 8, 2018.
  5. Jesse Snyder, “Shell Eyes Investments in Alberta’s Shale Plays as Oilsands Turn into ‘Cash Engine, Not a Growth Engine,’” Financial Post, February 2, 2017,
  6. Ron Bousso, “BG Shareholders Give Shell’s $52 Billion Acquisition Final Nod,” Reuters, January 28, 2016,

  7. Snyder, “Shell Eyes Investments.”
  8. Williams, Nia, “Why Canada Is the next Frontier for Shale Oil.” Reuters, January 29, 2018.
  9. Reuters, “Shell to Buy Canada’s Duvernay Oil for $5.9 Billion,” CNBC, July 14, 2008,
  10. Adam Reaburn, “Shell Canada to Focus on Shale Oil and Gas in B.C. and Alberta,”, June 6, 2017,
  11. Shell Canada, “PETRONAS to Join LNG Canada Project” (news release), May 31, 2018,
  12. Brent Jang, “LNG Canada Names Fluor-JGC as Prime Contractor for B.C. Project,” Globe and Mail, April 27, 2018,
  13. Reuters, “Shell Sells Oil Sands Assets as Boss Warns on Clean Energy Challenge,” The Guardian, March 10, 2017,
  14. David Hughes, A Clear Look at BC LNG: Energy Security, Environmental Implications and Economic Potential, May 26, 2015,
  15. “Shell Canada Energy Quest Project,” Natural Resources Canada, accessed April 30th, 2019,
  16. Reuters, “Shell Will Have Cut 12,500 Jobs—Equal to Facebook’s Entire Workforce—by the End of This Year,” Financial Post, May 25, 2016,
  17. Emily Gosden, “Shell Gives Boss a 54% Pay Rise and Sheds its Oil Sands,” The Times, March 9, 2017,
  18. Revenue and asset information is reflective of Royal Dutch Shell (RDS). Head office: Calgary, Alberta

    Countries of operation: Canada

    Revenue: US$305.2 billion18

    Shell., Annual Report, 2017,

  19. Shell., Annual Report, 2017,
  20. “Top 100 Canadian Companies by Production,” Oilweek, June 2018,
  21. “Who We Are,” Shell Canada, accessed April 23, 2019,
  22. “Search and View Past Responses: Royal Dutch Shell, Climate Change 2017,” CDP, accessed April 22nd, 2019,, Note that with the exception of the Council for Aboriginal Business (which lists Shell Canada as a member) this is the industry memberships list for Royal Dutch Shell rather than just Shell Canada.