Business Footprint

Shell’s operations in British Columbia are mainly focused on the development of the Montney formation in Shell’s Groundbirch asset, which is located approximately 50 kilometers south of Fort St. John (BC). Shell owns roughly 262,000 gross acres (230,000 net acres) of Montney rights in Groundbirch and a significant portion of the land base is part of a Joint Venture with PetroChina Canada Ltd (80% Shell and 20% PetroChina). In February 2017, Shell increased its footprint in the Groundbirch area by acquiring approximately 45 net sections (~30,000 acres) of Montney assets from Repsol Energy. Shell employs approximately 250 staff and contractors between Calgary and Fort St. John with an additional daily average of about150 field workers throughout British Columbia.


Commercial Activity

Since we started operations there in 2018, our well count in Groundbirch has increased from about 150 to over 500. We have also built four natural gas processing facilities, with an average production of approximately 515 million standard cubic feet a day (mmscf/d). In the near term, our focus is on safely maximising production and reducing costs with our existing infrastructure. This provides the foundation for building a sustainable operation that can deliver value to Shell and Canada for decades.


Key Data (2017) Values
Net Acreage ~ 230,000
Type of Asset Dry gas
Rigs 1
Production >500 mmscfe/d


Safety Performance

Shell puts safety of its staff, contractors and communities first, and will not pursue operations in the Montney if they cannot be conducted in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. We have stringent safety standards in place covering personal, process and transport safety and expect our employees and contractors to meet these standards. While safety performance at Groundbirch has improved since 2012, our ultimate target is Goal Zero – no harm to people and no leaks. In 2018, our focus is on strengthening our safety culture through our Health, Safety and Environment team, meaningful safety engagements and learning from past incidents.



Shell implements its Onshore Operating Principles across its shales portfolio. These principles cover safety and well integrity, air quality, water protection and use, land use and engagement with local communities. They are designed to manage or mitigate impacts related to our operations. We continuously look for ways to improve our environmental performance. We have virtually eliminated the need for fresh water by increasing use of local wastewater and reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by electrifying our gas plants and converting our drilling rigs and completion spreads from diesel to gas.


Social Investment

With an expected field life of over 35 years from the Montney formation, we have a long-term interest in creating benefits for the communities in which we operate. Since 2009, we have contributed over $5 million to local social investment initiatives and in 2017 we:

  • Contributed to the local economy by using local contractors (64%) and Indigenous-owned businesses (5%).
  • Launched the northeast BC Community Grant Program awarding $40,000 in funding to 13 local non-profit organisations including the South Peace Child Development Centre (for their Lifeskills programme) and the North East Native Advancing Society (for their family and youth programmes).
  • Invested over $430,000 in social programmes in the Peace River Regional District, including $50,000 in support of the Northern Lights College Trades Training Replacement Building Program and $25,000 for the Northern Opportunities Indigenous Engagement Project.
  • Logged over 1,000 Groundbirch employee volunteer hours to support community events in Fort St. John and Calgary.


Community Engagement

We value the relationships we have with the communities close to our operations. We work to engage with our neighbors to address their concerns and seek inputs through open houses and formal feedback mechanisms. Indigenous communities are important partners. Our projects must be designed and implemented to minimise impacts, provide shared value and enhance our relationships. We are committed to facilitating ongoing consultation and including Indigenous communities in our operations whenever possible. As an example, we work with local Indigenous communities to incorporate their knowledge on local plants into our reclamation practices.


Asset Contact Information

Community Feedback Number: 1-888-384-6465