TOTAL and shale gas and oil
TOTAL has stakes either as an operator or as a partner in several shale gas and oil exploration and production licenses in Russia, the United Kingdom, Denmark, the United States, Argentina, Uruguay, China and Australia.
In every country where the Group operates, its Safety Health Environment Quality Charter and its Societal directive, both of which are backed by local legislation, provide a framework for its operations. The Group has a risk management system that incorporates impact studies related to the environment, health, safety and social acceptability. These studies are carried out very early on in the project schedule (as early as the exploration phase) and entail a level of analysis that is equal to or exceeds local regulatory requirements.
The environmental and societal challenges associated with shale gas and oil development include reducing the quantity and impact of chemical additives, optimizing water management and reducing the visual impact and disturbance caused by the operations. In projects operated by the Group, TOTAL’s teams (operational, HSE, societal, quality and R&D) make every effort to find appropriate technological solutions.
In Europe, where TOTAL has stakes in Denmark as an operator, as well as stakes in the UK, the Group focuses its efforts on listening to the various stakeholders to ensure that the operations are carried out under the best possible conditions. TOTAL has also made a commitment to be transparent, whether by providing information about projects, such as via a Group website dedicated to Danish licenses, or by supporting the initiative of the Oil and Gas Producers Association, which publishes the composition of fracturing fluids on the Internet.
In Argentina, TOTAL has stakes either as an operator or partner in several shale gas licenses in the Neuquén basin. Although the large-scale development phase has not yet begun, proposed initiatives for minimizing the impact of the shale gas and oil operations are routinely and regularly assessed (such as using a mobile unit for processing and reusing flowback water or recycling a portion of the crushed rock, after it leaves the drilling platform, for reuse at another site to reduce the total amount of rock extracted from quarries, etc.). TOTAL also takes part in numerous regional Committees to provide information to a wide range of stakeholders, including the IAPG (Instituto Argentino del Petróleo y Gas), an institute recognized in Argentina for its high technical standards and whose goal is to ensure that best practices are adopted by industry players and included in the local regulatory framework. In addition, the Group is currently involved in a program that assesses the contribution of its operations to local socioeconomic development.