Shell the Dutch petrochemical company has plans to install a cracker on land to be reclaimed between Pulau Ular and Busing, just meters away from Pulau Hantu.
How much do you know about what's going on anyway? What is a cracker? What is ethylene? Is the only issue land reclamation? And apart from manufacturing fuel for automobiles, what is Shell about?
A process in which molecules are cracked, e.g., the oil-refining process in which heavy oils are broken down into hydrocarbons of lower molecular weight by heat or with a catalyst.
A unit in an oil refinery in which heavy fractions from crude oil are broken down (cracked), using a catalyst, into lighter distillates.
Ethylene gas (C2H4) is an odorless, colorless gas that exists in nature and is also created by man-made sources. Not easily detectable, it exists where produce is stored. In nature, the largest producers are plant and plant products (ie. fruits, vegetables and floral products) which produce ethylene within their tissues and release it into the surrounding atmosphere. It is also a by-product of man-made processes, such as combustion.
Ethylene is a basic chemical, widely-used in the production of everyday articles, such as plastic bags, washing-up liquids, paints, anti-freeze and car components. More about Ethylene
The high-temperature cracking of ethane is energy intensive, and results in a relatively high level of greenhouse gas emissions per unit of production.
The main combustion products emitted are Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx), Oxides of Sulphur (SOx), and Carbon Dioxide(CO2).
The processes also generate millions of tonnes of waste water that is discharged into the immediate environment, influencing water temperature and pH levels.
Shell's Environmental Minimum Standards
1. External certification of the environmental component of HSE management systems against a recognised, independent system standard.
All Shell Business Units are encouraged to have their environmental management systems certified against recognised, independent system standards, such as ISO 14001 or the European Union’s Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS).
All major installations having significant environmental risks should have been certified. This includes as a minimum:
o All crude oil and natural gas export terminals, gas plans, offshore platforms, major flow stations, floating production and storage vessels, all Shell operated refineries and chemicals manufacturing facilities;
o All ships accredited under the International Management Code for the Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention (“ISM Code”).
2. External verification ('auditing') of reported data.
Any Shell Company, the environmental impact of whose operations is considered material at Group level by the external verifiers of the Group’s HSE report, should have its reported Group HSE performance data verified by a competent, independent body.
5. SOx and NOx emissions and Oil in Effluent Water (Oil Products and Chemicals)
Shell Companies should co-operate with local governments and regulatory bodies in all countries where they operate and contribute wherever possible in the development of appropriate regulatory frameworks for refinery and chemicals manufacturing facilities emissions, which are designed to take full account of local circumstances, including the potential impact on the surrounding environment.
The annual average concentrations of SOx and NOx in gaseous emissions and of Oil in Effluent Water at Shell refineries and chemicals manufacturing facilities outside the OECD should fall within the ranges of those permitted at Shell refineries and chemicals manufacturing facilities within the OECD. Adherence to this principle should be maintained over time, although a reasonable lead-time may, in some circumstances, be required for the necessary investment.
6. Discharges to Water (Chemicals)
All process waters from chemicals processing facilities should be subjected to waste water treatment before discharge to receiving waters.
7. Produced Water (E&P)
Produced water should only be discharged to a receiving environment with which it is compatible. In the open sea, oil in water discharges should not exceed an average level of 40 mg/l, which is the current North Sea standard.
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
EIA is a procedure that must be followed for certain types of development before they are granted development consent. The requirement for EIA comes from a Singaporean directive. The procedure requires the developer to compile an Environmental Statement (ES) describing the likely significant effects of the development on the environment and proposed mitigation measures. The ES must be circulated to statutory consultation bodies and made available to the public for comment. Its contents, together with any comments, must be taken into account by the competent authority (e.g. local planning authority) before it may grant consent. More about EIA
Shell - Good Press
After Murco Petroleum Ltd, Shell is the most ethical choice* where petrol and diesel are concerned. Esso/ExxonMobil is the most unethical of brands.
Shell rejects shale oil
Shell's environmental performace
Shell - Bad Press
Royal Dutch/Shell has operations in tax heavens, as does Murco. In June 2001, it emerged that the £30m Shell has invested in its Sustainable Energy Programme to last for three years represented just 20 hours' profits.
Shell's pollution record
Shell International's Legacy of Pollution and Damage
Shell's Chronic Pollution and Toxic Drilling Fluids
*Ethical Consumer is the UK's leading alternative consumer magazine looking at the companies behind the brands. Products are rated according to workers' issues, pollution, animal rights and more.
If you have further questions about Shell, their plans, or how you can assist in the campaign for an alternative, Email us.
"Yes, corporations are part of the problem, but they are an integral part of the solution as well." - Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, former Chairman of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group