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Canada,Netherlands : SHELL explore water conservation in CANADA'S provinces.

Water on the minds of Alberta and British Columbia where oilsands and shale gas development is prompting tighter regulations around fresh water draws and treatment of waste water.

Oilsands fresh water use in 2012 was about 187 million cubic metres according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). That s 40% of the City of Toronto s annual water consumption

In Peace River, Dawson Creek, B.C., the water table is fed by rain.

Dry season water shortages are a serious issue so any industry, which draws water, comes under intense scrutiny.

Shell Canada s Groundbirch natural gas project is no different. The resource is 45 km west of Dawson Creek and involves hydraulic fracking which is a big draw of water.

To demonstrate its commitment to sustainable extraction, Shell Canada came up with an innovative and unusual solution when the City of Dawson Creek published a request for proposals for a new waste water treatment plant.

Shell proposed to build the plant and pay more than $11 million of the cost while the city put up $1.5 million.

Shell would build a 48-km water pipeline to take the treated water back to Groundbirch.

The proposal was accepted and the plant, treats sewage from the city using a microbacterial filtering system opened in 2012.

For Shell the timing was perfect. so Dawson Creek sold 20 to 25% of its water to the oil and gas sector as it was in the middle of a drought.

The city was forced to cut off water sales to the energy sector.

However, Shell s operations went underway at Groundbirch, while Dawson Creek relieved much of the pressure on its water supply.

The plant brought Dawson Creek s discharge up to higher effluent standards and created an excess since Shell takes 3,400 cubic yards of water daily from the 4,000 flow through capacity.

The surplus was used for city parks and sports fields and is sold to industry.

The outcome is a public relations win for Shell and the industry.

It ties in with Shell s program around what they call the stress nexus which is a strategy and recognition around the relationship between food, energy and water.

Energy development needs water which is needed for food and managing that requires a wholesale rather than an isolated approach.

The stress nexus and the learning from the Dawson Creek project is something Shell hopes to use and leverage in the 138 countries it operates in.

It signed an agreement with Fox Creek, where its Carmon Creek project is just getting started to purchase the towns treated waste water.

Shell will pay for engineering and design study to upgrade and expand the town s raw water facilities while also exploring new groundwater wells a new pipeline construction.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Jul 7, 2014
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