Shell Mera is a town located in the eastern foothills of the Ecuadorian Andes, about 94 miles (151 km) from Quito. Its name comes from the Royal Dutch Shell Company, and the smaller town of Mera, which is 5 miles (8.0 km) to the northwest. Shell Mera was established in 1937 as a Shell Oil Company base. It originally consisted of little more than several basic shacks and a 5,000-foot (1,500 m) airstrip. It was operated as part of Shell's prospecting efforts in the region.
The base was located near some Indian tribes that were known to be hostile. On a few occasions the Indians attacked Shell, resulting in the deaths of several employees. The oil company eventually considered the base too dangerous to maintain, and abandoned it in 1948.