We support research programmes to increase understanding of marine mammals and their behaviour, and find ways to avoid disturbing them when working in marine environments. Shell is a member of the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) Joint Industry Programme on Sound and Marine Life, an initiative to improve understanding of the effect sound generated by oil and gas exploration and activity has on marine life.

Read examples of our work to protect life below water:

Working with communities in the Philippines

We are helping local communities in the Philippines conserve part of the world’s most biodiverse marine environment, known as the Coral Triangle. Traditionally, coastal villagers have depended on fishing for their livelihood. However, overfishing has depleted stocks while illegal fishing techniques using dynamite or cyanide pose some of the greatest threats to coral reefs. A programme funded by Shell through Malampaya Foundation is helping thousands of fishermen to adopt alternative sources of income, helping fish stocks to replenish, and supporting efforts to conserve the coral.

Read the story “Conserving the Coral Triangle”

From rig to reef

After safely producing more than 31 million barrels of oil equivalent over a span of nearly two decades, Shell’s Cougar platform will now help to sustain a healthy, vibrant Gulf of Mexico ecosystem as an artificial reef. Shell donated the steel frame supporting Cougar’s deck and topside (called the jacket) to Louisiana Artificial Reef program and contributed to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Department to help maintain and monitor the reef. The jacket is now providing habitat for a variety of marine life, including red snapper, amberjack, and many reef-dependent fish.

Flex the grey whale in the ocean

Helping protect western gray whales in Russia

Shell has worked with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – one of our environmental partners - since 2004 to minimise the impacts on western gray whales at Shell’s joint-venture operations at Sakhalin, Russia.

We have helped to reduce the impacts that phases of our operations may have on the whales and their habitat by taking the guidance of the Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel – a panel of 13 prominent scientists convened by IUCN. In 2005, for instance, we rerouted pipelines away from the whales’ feeding grounds.

Read the story “The incredible journey of Flex the Whale”

Read about our environmental partners

Portugal, Sperm whale mother diving with her calf

Observing marine mammals

We are involved in several research programmes to increase understanding of marine mammals and their behaviour, and find ways to avoid disturbing them when working in marine environments. In Brazil, for instance, Shell funded research for more than a decade into the behaviour of humpback whales in the South Atlantic. In Colombia, marine mammal observation resulted in rare sightings of calf sperm whales.

Read the story “A close encounter in the Caribbean”

Shining new light on life in deep water

Shell is partner in the SERPENT project, a global collaboration between ocean scientists and the deep-water oil and gas industry. Research institutes benefit from free access to the industry’s remotely operated underwater vehicles, and the help of their operators in researching life thousands of metres beneath the ocean surface. At the same time, Shell gains a better understanding of how our operations and marine life coexist at the bottom of the sea.

Read the feature story: Secrets of the deep

Also, our Stones deep-water project in the Gulf of Mexico, USA, will share the data we collect from sensors with marine scientists.

Read the story “Scientists gain new line to the deep ocean"

marine mammal under sea

Migratory species in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea

With support from Shell, The Nature Conservancy developed an online web portal that houses information about migratory species - fish, sea turtles, marine mammals and birds - in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. The tool allows researchers, industries, decision-makers and others to quickly understand the migratory pathways of these species, the threats they face, and provides information on the areas that are important for their conservation.

Visit The Nature Conservancy's Migratory Species Conservation Project

Read about our environmental partners

More in sustainability


Our projects can affect local natural habitats and communities that depend on them. Read about our work on biodiversity around the world.

Climate change and energy transitions

A key role for society – and for Shell – is to find ways to provide much more energy with less carbon dioxide.