Shell responds to court decision on oil sands approvals

    CALGARY, Aug. 28 /CNW/ - On August 27, 2009 the Alberta Court of Appeal
held that it will not hear the Oil Sands Environmental Coalition's (OSEC)
requested appeal of two recent Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB)
decisions regarding Shell's Jackpine Mine and Muskeg River Mine Expansion oil
sands project approvals.
    In his oral decision, Justice MacDonald indicated that the ERCB decisions
to not re-open Shell's oil sands project approvals were based on a reasonable
exercise of the ERCB's discretion in its Rules of Practice and governing
legislation. As such the necessary threshold to bring an appeal before the
Court of Appeal had not been met.
    "We are pleased with the ruling and feel strongly that our compliance
with CO2 regulations will fulfill the spirit and intent of our agreements with
OSEC to reduce CO2 from oil sands," said John Abbott, Shell's Executive Vice
President, Heavy Oil. "We have not and will not set voluntary targets for
future oil sands projects because current and emerging regulations will drive
us to reduce or offset GHGs from oil sands production to a level on par with
competing crude oil alternatives. That's our goal."
    Shell complies with environmental regulations, and moreover, advocates
for a cap and trade emissions policy.
    "Oil sands accounts for 0.1 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Yes, we need to do our part but robust regulations are logically more
effective in lowering atmospheric CO2 and should replace voluntary targets,"
Abbott said.
    A recent Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) report said that oil
will continue to be a major part of North America's energy equation for years
to come. On a wells-to-wheels basis, CO2 emissions from oil sands fuel can be
higher, lower or on par with conventional crude oils since oil sands and
conventional crudes have a wide range of emissions depending on source,
technology, distance from market as well as the vehicle fleet in which they
are consumed. CERA found that on a wells-to-wheels basis GHG emissions from
oil sands are approximately 5 to 15 per cent higher than the average crude
consumed in the United States. As the most energy efficient mineable oil sands
operator, and the proponent of a CCS project in Alberta, no one is working
harder than Shell to close that gap.
    Shell has met with representatives of the Pembina Institute on several
occasions to discuss greenhouse gas performance as well as Shell's overall
view that regulation will drive us to parity with import alternatives over
    "We understand and share the concerns of stakeholders on greenhouse gas
emissions from oil sands, and that is why we allocate significant human and
financial resources to addressing our GHG performance and advocating for a
level playing field and real climate solutions," said Abbott.
    "We want to work with stakeholders on ways to strengthen CO2 and other
environmental policies and welcome thoughtful debate on this critical issue."
    Visit for more information.

For further information:

For further information: Philip Vircoe, Manager, Media Relations, Shell
Canada Limited, (403) 384-5131

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