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Water is one of the planet’s most precious resources, which is why we actively manage its use


We have operations in many different countries and the availability of water in areas where we work can vary greatly. That’s why it’s important to look at local conditions, such as water stress and scarcity, in order to manage our impact.

Water use


Water is required for drilling, hydraulic fracturing and other upstream production processes and it is an essential component in refining, petrochemicals and biofuels production.


We use non-fresh water, such as seawater, in our oil and gas production and treated wastewater at some of our refineries.

Water use

How we evaluate water risk

Each year we review water risks in our portfolio, considering the local availability, quantity, quality and regulatory requirements.


We estimate that around half of our major operations withdraw fresh water in areas where its availability is considered stressed or scarce. These operations account for 23% of our total freshwater withdrawals.


In our gas operations at our Khazzan development in Oman – an area where the availability of fresh water is extremely scarce – we withdraw brackish water under permit from a local underground aquifer that is only used for industrial purposes. We desalinate the water and use it for drilling and hydraulic fracturing. We completed a modelling study in 2018 to assess the sustainability of this water supply. The results of the study have been incorporated into a long-term water management plan to reduce water demand.


We saw a small decrease in our freshwater withdrawal, consumption and wastewater volumes in 2018 primarily due to operational changes such as maintenance at selected refineries and petrochemicals plants. Overall there was a slight increase in consumption efficiency.